The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 27: Update 25 (Autumn 1186 - Winter 1186)

I wondered why the thread was being so quiet and it turns out I didn't post the update!

I swore I posted this on Wednesday. I'm losing the plot.

Tomomori's choice

Summer of 1186 (Enemy Turn)

"A missive, my Lord, from the Watanabe" announced the attendant. Munemori took the scroll, curious.

"To the Taira,
It is with a heavy heart that I must revoke my oath of vassalage and fly the Watanabe banners in war.
For many long years, the Watanabe have been your ever loyal vassals. But this must end.
This war tears Japan asunder and threatens to chain the Watanabe into eternal servitude.
We are loyal, but we are a noble clan, worthy of respect. Our children are worthy of freedom.
Our support is earned, not taken for granted.

- The Watanabe"

Munemori's eyes narrowed. "Send word to our holdings and to Norioki" his voice calm, but his face betrayed his anger. "Let them know the Watanabe will fall."

Our loyal Watanabe vassals, who have stood by us and served us well have finally succumbed to the lure of Realm Divide and have declared war upon the Taira! The reason it took so long to happen after Realm Divide is a combination of the large number of troops we have stationed around their province as well as their temperament and integrity, both peaceful and steadfast. Regardless of their intentions, I don't plan to let this betrayal go without swift and merciless punishment! Our power rating is the top of the scale, Terrifying, how accurate that is! The Watanabe will be crushed without fear or hesitation.

Autumn of 1186

Despite the high levels of support for the Minamoto, the construction of a mighty stronghold in Izu left the inhabitants with no illusions, the Taira were here to stay.

The province of Izu has become even more solidly in our grasp, thanks to the construction of a Stronghold there. Although we still can't tax there to benefit from the large gold deposits, continued defensive upgrades ensure that any last minute attack or desperate strike is that much more likely to fail.

A full third of Japan raised up arms, armour and men to support the Taira empire. All creeds and stations of life represented, the devout monks, skilful samurai and simple levy. Each man would lend their strength to these undertakings and Japan would move by their combined might.

We continue to step up recruitment beyond even what we have seen before, with the major additions being an additional 3 Naginata Warrior Monks in Settsu and 2 Foot Samurai in South Shinano, while all over the empire Levy spring up to ensure the defence of their homes and maintaining order. With the extra monks, Shigehira is almost unbeatable in the open field and full on indestructible while behind fortifications, ensuring our dominance over western Japan, while the Foot Samurai will be well earned reinforcements for Ietoyo, given what he can do with Levy, with Foot Samurai he will become an avatar of peace, striding through Minamoto lands pacifying all whom would dare offer resistance.

"Our tax inspectors are finding it impossible to assess the wealth of the people" complained the assistant, bitterly. "We have an army and yet it's not enough!"
Mitsukazu looked thoughtful. "How are they finding it so difficult?" he inquired.
"We know that people have wealth that we must tax, yet they hide it too well!" the attendant fumed.
Mitsukazu laughed. "Then we will tax them on the land they own! Let them hide that!"

The final art we will master in the entire game is Direct Land Tax, reducing the Administrative Cost of our empire by 20% (From 47.5% to 38%) and so giving us a large boost to our income, from 7142 koku a turn in tax revenue to 8549 koku, a boost of 1407 koku. Or as I like to think of it, 3/4 of a stack of Foot Samurai!

Ingame encyclopaedia - Direct Land Tax posted:

Taxed like so much gold,
Another commodity:
The fruits of autumn.

Land is easy to tax. It cannot be hidden away from the vigilant eyes of an inspector, even by the most cunning of village elders.

"You can't cross here!" exclaimed the border guard. "Now be off with you before I get angry."
"But how will I sell my wares?" demanded the merchant.
"That is not my concern!" stated the guard. "The Watanabe are traitors and will not be allowed passage in Taira lands!"

With the Watanabe becoming traitors to the Taira cause, trade has broken down irrevocably between the two clans. This might have an impact on our bottom line, if not for the enormous boost we just got for completing Direct Land Tax!

The Watanabe army is far from insignificant, although without a Stronghold and manned only by Levy, they will find it difficult to resist the Taira for long...

As the warm days of summer led into the auburn colours of autumn, Tomoe Gozen could feel her heart soaring. Soon she would be at the front, taking the fight to the hated Minamoto. Then, all Japan would see that the Taira had powerful allies!

Tomoe Gozen continues her march towards the Minamoto front, making it halfway between Totomi and Suruga. She's almost there!

"Ietoyo needs our help" stated the samurai captain. "He can't hold off the Minamoto with only Levy! Only the might of the samurai can put those cowardly dogs back in their place!"

The Foot Samurai produced in South Shinano are sent north towards North Shinano, with the intent of reinforcing Ietoyo and giving him the punch required to strike the killing blow against the Kiso Minamoto.

Hisakane walked onwards towards the Kiso Minamoto army, stopping to notice the leaves falling from the trees, their radiant colours looking for all the world like a vivid sunset. Was it a sign? A symbol of the end of the Minamoto power? Or was it a sunrise, beckoning in a new day of Taira benevolence?

We need to reduce the threat that the Kiso Minamoto army represents. By demoralising them, we can at least ensure that we are fighting an enemy no more difficult than absolutely necessary.

Hisakane ran from the camp, dodging thrown stones and other items. His message had not been received well, the samurai far less likely to listen to the whims of heaven than simple levy.
"What use is wisdom if it will fall on deaf ears?" he wondered to himself.

Unfortunately for us, Hisakane has failed to demoralise the enemy. Such poor outcomes demand the need for introspection and self assessment.

Days had passed since Hisakane had been run out of the Minamoto camp. Yet he had not been idle, his thoughts struggling with a fundamentally new concept. He had always thought wisdom was earned, carved from pure firmament and then imparted unto others in its exacting form.
"What if wisdom must be shaped like the smith shapes the blade, so that it better serves those who possess it?" he pondered. "What shape must wisdom be?"

Yet if there was a man for being able to divine truth from all events, it would be Hisakane. Reaching rank 3, he will be even more effective at his tasks, as well as having a new skill set.

Hisakane sat upright, his eyes bright. "I understand!" he thought. "Wisdom is divinely inspired, taking it's ethereal form. This must be crafted of this Earth, shaped to earthly considerations, lest it be lost upon deaf ears. Yet it must also have the fire of heaven, the fury and passion that only the truth inspires!"

We take a rank in Militant in order to unlock other items further down the tree (not that we will get there, but it's good practise) and also take a rank in Worldly, in order to increase his survivability significantly. Given that Sou tend to have lower odds of success but also lower odds of failure ending in death, further minimising this is a good idea as it ensures that many more of your agents will reach rank 6. Note that it doesn't increase the chance of escape by 20%, but it *adds* the chance of escape by 20%, often all but eliminating the risk of critical failure.

Nakamitsu moved with confidence across the outer Sagami fields, easily avoiding the patrols and other hazards the night brought. As he made his way towards the walls of the stronghold, he stopped to assess the situation. There were 3 gates and the guard changing was often and alert. Spotting a military granary nearby, the plan became obvious.

Unfortunately for us, the Kamakura Minamoto have emptied their only other province in order to defend Sagami with every man they have. This includes several units of Foot Samurai as well as a General. To overcome that, we will need something to help push the odds back in our favour. Something like open gates. Something Nakamitsu can provide all too easily.

"The granary is on fire!" yelled a solider!
"Quickly, a bucket chain!" yelled another.
The chaos was absolute, men running and yelling, confusion taking over. It was easy work for Nakamitsu, his blades relieving the gate guards of their lives as he worked his highly honed skills.
Three explosions rang out, the gates destroyed, the gatehouses ablaze. They would provide no support for the defenders this day.

As quickly as he had arrived, Nakamitsu left, cloaked in shadows.

Success! With the gates to the Stronghold obliterated, we can push our numerical advantage harder than ever before, hopefully enough to overwhelm the defenders and also to allow Tomomori access to the inner courtyard while still mounted.

"Establish a siege! Surround the fortification! Don't let them consolidate!" ordered Tomomori. "The Minamoto must fall."
His bodyguard nodded. "An open assault would be suicide, but starving them out is a considered move."
Tomomori glared at the man. "There is no glory, no honour in this. But I have my orders, now is not the time for this stronghold to fall."

The Minamoto would find that their troubles were only just beginning.

Tomomori moves up to attack the defences in Sagami, but the enemy force is exceptionally powerful, consisting of 2 Foot Samurai, 1 Bow Attendant, 2 Naginata Levy and 1 Bow Levy, all with +4 melee attack and +1 armour, as well as being unbreakable. We only outnumber the forces 2 to 1 and we don't have a quality edge (except for the fact Tomomori is a damned god of war), so I decide to siege the enemy forces out (and I've not shown you a siege before).

"My Lord, the Kitabakate garrison has received no reinforcements" reported the scout. "They are vulnerable!"
Norioki nodded. "Then my forced march has proven worthwhile. Order the men to advance, we attack!"

The Kitabatake have not made it to their capital in time, a mistake that Norioki intends to take full advanatge of. Despite having the now hostile Watanabe at our back, we can't afford to let these opportunities pass us by. As such, we attack!

"Attendants form up rear" barked Norioki. "Archers front!"
"At once" the attendant captain barked. "You heard him! Move!"
"I want archers to sweep their position" Norioki ordered. "Under the cover of arrow fire our attendants will advance and engage the enemy head on. The levy are to flank and keep the pressure up. This one is by the numbers."

The battle is more even than I would like, as our force of 3 Naginata Attendants, 2 Naginata Levy, 1 Bow Levy and 1 Bow Warrior Monk face off against the traitor's 3 Naginata Levy and 2 Bow Levy with enhanced morale. We do, however, have a reasonable numbers advantage of 6 to 5, not to mention a sizeable quality advantage with our rank 4 Naginata Attendants (along with our current global combat buffs) able to punch through many times their number of levy.

Click here to see the battle!

Arrows sang their song of death, streaking through the sky as the ground shuddered with the charge of the attendants. Their heavy armour let them move with surprising speed, testament to the superior craftsmanship of the Taira smiths, travelling far further than their levy battle brothers. The Kitabatake forces held their ground, but terror was written into the very fabric of their forces as they watched a wave of doom sweep towards them.

Norioki spurred his horse forward, taking shot after shot as he charged, striking Kitabatake soldiers with sickening accuracy.
"Taira! To me!" he yelled. "Death to the traitors!"
The Taira surged forward, urged on by Norioki, the battle joined in full.

The map is less than forgiving for us, with the northern approach completely impassable. The eastern and western approaches are significantly more friendly, especially considering our moderate troop numbers. While I don't have enough forces to rely on flanking to deal devastating morale damage, our core troop quality is such that a heavy push should be able to punch through the centre and cause a chain rout, especially if I can catch their captain in the melee.

The Kitabatake defenders fought valiantly, but were hopelessly outclassed by the elite troops of the Taira and the devastatingly effective leadership of Norioki.
"Find the traitor Daimyo's family!" Norioki thundered as his troops burst into the central courtyard. "I want them brought to me!"

Norioki demonstrates why he is feared for his efficiency with a mighty victory, felling the enemy at a rate of almost 20 to 1! As predicted, even with the enhanced enemy morale, our hand picked units struck with unmatched ferocity, scattering the Kitabatake defenders and reminding them exactly why they were our vassals to begin with (Hint: It's because we could crush them like worms. Then set fire to them.).

The Kitabatake family was brought before Norioki under heavy guard.
"By all rights you forfeited your lives when you became traitors to the Taira" Norioki stated. "Yet even when dealing with traitors, there is hope. You may die, or you may live. Choose!"
The Kitabatake Daimyo's wife stood tall, her fierce gaze matching Norioki. "Such a choice is none at all and you know it. You will suffer when my husband returns!"
Norioki nodded. "Very well" he said. Drawing his sword, he put it at the throat of the infant grandson of the Kitabatake. "Then by your own choice let this terrible thing be done."
"NO!" the wife yelled, struggling against the soldiers that held her. "He's a child, he should not pay for this!"
Norioki looked at her, his eyes level, face blank. Slowly, he withdrew his sword and re-sheathed it. "I see your defiance and your choice are at odds. Very well."

Perhaps the greatest performance was from our Naginata Attendants, managing to slay around 100 enemy troops and get a kill rate of 25 to 1, this great feat earning them combat rank 5. Every unit conducted itself with grace and ferocity, the kills to losses ratio speaking for itself as to how one-sided this rebellion really was.

Norioki turned to his attendant captain. "Take the infant" ordered Norioki. "He is to be returned to Settsu as a prisoner."
Norioki turned towards the wife. "If a Kitabatake soldier even so much as thinks as betraying the Taira a second time, your grandchild will pay with his blood."
The wife fumed. "How can we know you won't murder the child the second you leave!" she spat.
"I'm not the traitor here" Norioki shot back. "The child will be treated as befitting his noble station. Traitors don't get to question the word of the loyal."

I need this province operational and under my control, as Norioki's forces being available to deal with the rebellion of the Watanabe is far more important than other considerations. As such, we re-establish control of the Kitabatake, forcing them to re-swear vassalage. As we established the vassals through capture, they lose all previous modifiers and are treated as a brand new clan (so no Realm Divide penalty), enabling us to re-task Norioki with putting down another rebellion with the same brutal efficiency. We also get an extra Naginata Levy for our troubles! There now remain only 3 provinces left to conquer in the game before the Taira are ascendant (one of which must be Sagami).

A practical and results focused man is an unlikely leader, as without the ability to inspire, one must rely on the respect of a proven track record. Norioki methods might have been unorthodox, but right now, the men could see they were incredibly effective.

The victory has further honed Norioki's general skills, establishing him as a commander in his own right. As our Commissioner for Supply, we now get an additional global +1% to unit replenishment and his stack can move an additional 3% further each turn.

The security of a proven track record let the men feel safe in the knowledge that no matter where they were on the field, they were part of the bigger plan. Each man knew that he was part of a devastating Taira machine. Deadly to their enemies, yet protected by their own. Norioki was not idle with his martial training, as he knew that without understanding the limits of a warrior, he could never hope to use them to full effect. His personal training regime was brutal and it gave results.

Norioki is a practical man, his attentions balanced between the need to lead his men and the need to be able to excel in a fight. In a world a lever can move by applying a dagger at the right point, he strives to know if that point is by the fulcrum or between someone's ribs.

In a move unprecedented during the Gempei war, Norioki employed extensive medical expertise for his men, ensuring that their every wound was looked after and each man received prompt medical attention. Wherever possible, medics would travel with the army and rush in to save wounded comrades even during the battle. These methods and dedication to the well-being of his men led to the forces under Norioki's command being in better shape and able to withstand long excursions away from supply lines while maintaining full combat effectiveness.

We are in luck with our retainers this LP! Surgeon is one of the best retainers for your long term combat generals, as a 5% boost to replenishment for everyone in an army is absolutely enormous. It represents a doubling of the base rate of replenishment, which goes an enormous way towards keeping your armies combat ready under duress, especially if you are using many elite units!

"For too long have the Satake ignored the rightful power of the Taira!" thundered Shigehira. "Despite being shown as disfavoured in heaven's eyes, they still persist on a destructive course. We will obliterate them!"

The Satake have moved inland to threaten my provinces, something that I find totally unacceptable given Shigehira's available forces. As such, we dispatch Shigehira and our full detachment of Naginata Warrior Monks to ensure that no Satake leave Taira lands with their heads.

The head monk grinned at Shigehira. "Don't you worry yourself" the monk stated. "My brothers wish to demonstrate heaven's favour and the power of our order."
"The terrain is perfect to show Japan the might of the Enryakuji is now aligned with the true leaders of Japan" agreed Shigehira. "Let's show the land what opposition to the Taira gets you."
"They will be washed away like a beach before a tsunami" grinned the monk. "Our order will be supreme!"

Oh, how I love these sorts of fights. This is one that I would certainly call the "victory lap" of the LP. A full 600 rank 4 Naginata Warrior Monks represents an almost unstoppable amount of combat fire-power, a full half stack of some of the finest warriors we have ever seen. 3 Naginata Levy, 2 Bow Levy and 2 Fire Bomb Throwers don't stand the remotest chance against our 8 Naginata Warrior Monks.

Click here to see the battle!

"The plan is simple" stated Shigehira. "We advance across the field and sweep them all away. We strike like Raijin's fury!"

An open battlefield, 600 monks and one angry Shigehira. The only strategy is to exploit our absolutely ludicrously lopsided melee combat advantage and punch through so hard we keep going and the Satake disappear into nothing but the finest red paste. We have already given them a warning when we defeated them the first time. They chose to ignore the might of the Taira and we do not suffer fools well.

The march of the monks shook the battlefield, each step perfectly in time with the precision only achieved by a lifetime of training. There was no banter, no chatter, no taunting from the monks. Each man walked in perfect lockstep, yet utter silence, the Satake fear mounting with each step. Suddenly, all as one yet on no signal, a low battle chant started. The verses were slow and measured, each in time with the marching of the monks. Yet as the verses went on and the tempo quickened, so did the pace of the monks. With the final verse, the monks were in full sprint, yet all in perfect step. Just before the lines clashed, the chant stopped and all the Satake could hear was the thunder of their feet and see the calm tranquillity upon the Taira faces as the lines exploded together, an unearthly charge, the rage of heaven personified.

I think 30 to 1 is the best kills to deaths ratio we have ever managed to achieve. A fully developed, high quality force is a beautiful sight to behold in Rise of the Samurai, it's unseen in vanilla or Fall for the sheer beauty of it in action. With these men I will conquer the world.

The lines had barely clashed when each monk exploded in unearthly rage, his fury, anger and ill-will personified in a warcry so powerful as to shake the Satake to their very core, breaking concentration and filling them with hopelessness and dread.

As one man they turned and fled.

Just look at those numbers. This wasn't a battle, it was pest extermination. This army was raised in 3 turns by Settsu. 3 turns. Given a dozen turns I could have 2 full stacks of this sort of fire-power running around. I'm not only well placed to get to 25 provinces in 100 turns, I could get to 50 provinces and win the long campaign in the short campaign time-span!

Winter of 1186

More men were needed to maintain order throughout the Taira empire, to ensure peace and stability throughout the realm. The men of Taira were no cowards, as sons followed their fathers into defending clan honour.

Recruitment has dropped back to caretaker levels, with troops to simply maintain the peace in the areas which need it most. Additional monks at this point would be superfluous considering we have more than enough combat fire-power in the western provinces to stop all of Japan, so the forces are better mustered towards our more pressured eastern front.

"My Lord, the Minamoto! They have come!" reported the scout. "A mighty force of Samurai."
The Suruga commander looked worried. "We are but a few Levy, perched behind our walls" he mused. "How can we hold against such odds?"

The Minamoto have mustered their last force and sent it towards Suruga. Although it doesn't look like much, it consists entirely of veteran, blacksmith enhanced Foot Samurai, capable of more than taking apart the Levy garrison in Suruga.

"I believe I have a solution to your problem, commander" said a voice behind them. The garrison commander turned.
"Who are you?" the commander demanded.
"I am Tomoe Gozen" she replied, defiant and proud. "I bring the finest warriors and samurai at my back. We will not let these walls fall."
The garrison commanders eyes went wide and he bowed. "Forgive me, My lady."
Tomoe Gozen returned the bow. "Your knowledge of my reputation honours me. However, we have work to do."
The garrison commander nodded. "The garrison is at your command, my Lady. We are honoured to have you lead us."

Luckily for us, Tomoe Gozen and her Foot Samurai entourage are within range of Suruga to bolster the garrison there. In addition, Tomoe Gozen is now in charge of the garrison, ensuring that the walls will hold, no matter the cost.

Rumours abounded of a Sou of the Satake, sent to demoralise the Taira invaders and bring the advantage back to the Minamoto. Nakamitsu would not let that happen.

His search proved fruitful, as he encountered the Sou preaching in a small village. Hidden in the shadows of a dice house, Nakamitsu judged the range and slowly unsheathed a throwing knife. The range was long and his grasp of the weapon had never been exceptional, but he trusted fate as the let the blade fly.

The finest ninja in Japan (so fine he is hidden in this screenshot, in fact), has spotted a Satake Sou heading to do mischief and demoralise Tomomori's besieging army. This is unacceptable, so Nakamitsu is sent to ask him rather pointed questions.

The blade slammed into the Sou's neck, the spraying blood a brutal contrast to the white robes the man wore. The crowd erupted like a hive of enraged bees, but Nakamitsu was long gone.

Nakamitsu certainly knows how to skewer his opponent with a pointed argument, especially when he has a particularly spiky question. That Sou won't be troubling us ever again. Monomi are just absolutely fantastic at housekeeping in Rise and it's always worth training one or two up if you get the chance.

The days of the trainee were long passed, Nakamitsu was now a master in his own right, an expert in the craft of death and destruction by night. His name was whispered by parents to frighten their children to sleep, yet others believed he was an oni, a terrible demon sent to punish the sins of the wicked. Yet all agreed that where he went, death followed.

Continued development and ready opportunities for Nakamitsu to develop his craft have let him advance to be the most powerful agent in the Taira empire. He has reached the second highest level possible, rank 5.

The death that followed him was not always feared, however. Nakamitsu had a strong sense of justice, even if his work might be brutal, his heart was good. Men who forced themselves on women, administrators who exploited their workers, criminals who brought discord into the Taira lands, all found themselves, sooner or later, with a quiet visitor to end their misdeeds. Evil men who died of poisoning, while those around them ate the same meal, unaffected. Nakamitsu was feared for his effectiveness, but was also loved, for the strong justice that even the lowliest could rely upon.

Something to note in Rise of the Samurai is that your agents get 3 skill points to spend at rank 5 and 6, unlike the 2 at earlier levels. It's worthwhile to plan for these, as they let you get some really nice skill combinations that are not viable without the extra point or two. Since Nakamitsu is the master of eliminating troublesome enemies and also of sabotaging troublesome armies, we give him 2 ranks in Poisoner, boosting both of those skills. With our final point, we fill out Noble Bandit, not only making him even cheaper to use (which can be vital when sabotaging large armies or assassinating Daimyo's), but also improving the happiness of the people by 2 when he is in a friendly province (Makes it easier to hold a province freshly taken or under enemy agent attack).

"I have devoted my life to ending this war" proclaimed Ietoyo. "Today, we march out to strike a fatal blow to the Minamoto and to begin the end of this damned war! Samurai from South Shinano will meet us at the edge of Kai, where the Kiso Minamoto will learn their final lesson."

Leaving behind a defensive detachment, Ietoyo moves south to connect up with the 2 Foot Samurai, leaving him with a full stack on the border of Kai. As it is winter, we take care to be on our side of the border so to avoid attrition, while still remaining within range of Kai proper should the opportunity to invade present itself...

"Our orders from Munemori are clear" stated Ietoyo. "We are to march to the border of the Watanabe and then take command of the military force that he sends to deal with the problem. Seems simple enough."

We need to deal with the Watanabe threat. Their force is too large to be allowed to threaten the smaller holdings around it. Although individually they are not up to the task, if they joined forces and were led by a skilled general like Norioki, it would be another story...

Throughout the towns, men were mobilised on a scale never before seen. The anger over the treachery of the Watanabe was evident, as every available province devoted a portion of their soldiers to quell the uprising. The Watanabe's lesson would be hard indeed.

To ensure complete victory over the traitors, we empty Kyoto and a detachment of monks from Settsu in order to provide both bulk and fire-power to our forces around Yamato.

Norioki opened the orders parchment. "The forces are in place for their winter holdings" he noted. "Good. Spring will end this madness."

A force unparalleled in size since Ietoyo marched against the Kiso Minamoto sits on the borders of Yamato, home of the traitorous Watanabe. Filled with noble Levy, mighty Warrior Monks and battle hardened Attendants, led by the brutally effective Norioki, can their rebellion last past the spring?

We still have 3 provinces to take before victory, with the Kiso Minamoto reduced to one province in Kai, the Kamakura Minamoto left with 2 provinces, one skeletal and stripped to defend Sagami, which is now besieged by the mighty Tomomori and the traitorous Watanabe about to feel the iron fist of Munemori.

Can the Taira pull it off? Can 3 provinces be seized in a single turn, showing beyond a doubt that once and for all, the Taira are the rulers of Japan, crushing all their enemies in a single, devastating strike?

Find out in the last update of our campaign... The Taira Ascendancy