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Thread: Bishamon - a Magna Mundi AAR

  1. #21
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    Chapter 2
    – The Feud on the Mountains of Jomo -

    ***

    - Gameplay notes -



    Historically Japan was divided into roughly 70 provinces which again were subdivided into prefectures, fiefs and other micro-governmental entities reaching almost legion in numbers. Magna Mundi has for a variety of reasons reduced this number to 28 (excluding Hokkaido). Thus the Uesugi’s ingame Musashi province is a conglomerate of three historically adjacent provinces (who, however, do not belong to the same historical region), namely the already mentioned Musashi province along those of Izu and Sagama.

    This setup obviously downplays the diverse and widely contested conflict that was the Sengoku Jidai, where the country was torn asunder on almost all levels of society.

    As a compensation for this Magna Mundi operates with a four-tier modifier system that describes the level of central clan authority over the provinces in question.


    Provinces are usually far more divided than the map suggests.



    In order to solidify a player’s hegemony over his province(s) and unite the patchwork of fiefs that make up the clan’s domains, the player can launch different kinds of campaigns against the obstinate lesser fractions within the province in question either by fulfilling certain conditions and trigger the event “Feuding Daimyo” through the provincial decision window or waiting for the event to appear randomly (which can be accelerated by posting large armies within a province, provoking your adversaries to face the clan). Launching a campaign manually gives you the ability to prepare enough men and provisions, but increases the strength of the rebels spawned to represent forces hostile to your clan, whereas engaging in an inter-provincial feud reduces the strength of the enemy in lieu of your clan chancing upon a golden opportunity to enforce its control.

    If you, for whatever reason, decide to launch a campaign you’ll be given the choice in the event whether to engage in a provincial or concerted campaign which will grant specific modifiers to the province in question. The first type of campaign conveys a set of negative modifiers upon the province (such as revolt risk – spawning “disloyal Uesugi vassals”) over a longer period of time whilst the latter is both shorter in terms of time to pass before the province is pacified, but also severely increases the negative modifiers of the provincial campaign.



    Should the fortunes of war be against you and the rebellious enemies succeed in sieging the province for even a short amount of time, the campaign might just end in failure – thus de facto reducing the control your clan holds over the disputed fiefs.
    Considering the wider effects of, for example, engaging in a concerted campaign you’ll lose both stability and manpower whilst also increasing war exhaustion and infamy. Of these modifiers, the loss of manpower might just be the worst. The Japanese clans are small, thus rendering stability regeneration rather straightforward, but the loss in manpower may be crippling for your overall strategic goals if you should suddenly find yourself at war with your neighbours or, God forbid, the bakufu whilst conducting a campaign in one of your provinces.

    *


    -The Feud on the Mountains of Jomo -


    ***



    By August 6th 1480, Uesugi Akisada had mustered such a large force within Kozuke that he felt himself strong enough to commence offensive operations against those retainers who had omitted to deliver taxes or taken too great a liberty in running their own affairs.

    Consisting of numerous loyal vassals and retainers, Akisada’s army mobilized in the midst of August with Sojun Tsutsui leading the van whilst Naoie Date took the rear, commanding the incredible vital flow of supplies[1]. The shugo himself took charge of the middle of the column that snaked its way across the hills of Kozuke, spiked with banners.

    However, the campaign preparations had not exactly been conducted in secret and as such the retainers who were to be on the receiving end of Akisada’s onslaught had amble time to prepare themselves. Behind a screen of make-shift fortresses on the mountain ridge called Jomo, the rebellious league raised an army of some 5,000 drafted ashigaru[2] and a shock force of some thousand mounted samurai retainers.



    Facing the rebels were a 7000 man strong army under the command of Akisada. The force was subdivided into three columns of 2,000 mixed ashigaru formations with the advancing infantry being screened by a mounted force of 1,000 professional samurai and loyal retainers of the Uesugi.

    The Uesugi troops struck camp on a bend in the Tonegawa River, facing the amassing rebels in the hills who shovelled arrows and insults alike down upon the advancing loyalist forces.

    At the end of the month Akisada saw that the enemy was unlikely to abandon their fortified positions, and subsequently convened his commanders in the centre of his camp and instructed them to feign a withdrawal in separate columns, hopefully luring the rebels off the high ground and right into the awaiting arms of the loyal retainers.



    The ikki[3] troops were led by the famed Kinai swordsman, Naoie Yagyu who had assumed command on guarantee of great wealth and ransom from the defeated Uesugi family, however, his skill with the katana exceeded that of his wit with a commander’s baton.

    Taking the retreat of his enemy as a sign of cowardice, Yagyu hoisted the mon of his family by the banners of the uprising and ordered his men forward, crossing the river bend by bridges and shallow water. Drenched by the surge and exhausted from their rapid advance, the insurgent forces streamed into the open land, gasping for breath and victory.

    However, Akisada’s fresh troops halted. Then turned. And attacked.
    Smashing through Yagyu’s fatigued and disorganized formations, the pikes and arrows of the Uesugi ashigaru pulverized any form of cohesion amongst the rebels whilst the mounted samurai swept around the river bend, cutting off any route of escape.

    Struck with disbelief, the ikki commander could only watch as his infantry, trapped, surrendered or were slaughtered in the bottleneck created by the Uesugi battle plan. Bitter and disappointed, Naoie Yagyu composed his death poem before committing seppuko – ritual suicide. His cavalry scattered from the hills in the face of the victorious and hardly hurt loyalist troops.



    Retaining the field was an unscathed Uesugi army that had just obliterated an opposing enemy almost equal in size. As a result, the battle on the Tonegawa River sent shock-waves through Kozuke’s districts, prompting several wavering rebels to seek mercy and amnesty at the loyalist banner.

    As September came around and the campaigning season limbered to its approaching end, the rebellion had for all intents and purposes been stomped out. However, several members of the league such as the Washizu and Miki shugodai holed up in their fortresses and emptied their villages in preparation for coming sieges.

    Akisada decided to detach some contingents from Tsutsui’s column and detailed them to envelop the resisting fortifications and starve the enemy into submission.
    One by one the castles succumbed to hunger or were taken by either storm or treachery; leaving Kozuke province more or less united behind the Uesugi clan just little more than a year after the first large pitched battle had been fought.



    However, the Uesugi family was not entitled to a long rest in the wake of this successful domestic campaign. Trouble was brewing once again in Muromachi.







    *




    [1]Indeed, the post as commissioner of supply was one of the most important military positions of any Sengoku army.

    [2]Term for a foot soldier, literally means ‘one who advances on foot’.

    [3]As mentioned in the first chapter an “ikki” was a league of warriors or peasants in revolt.

    Do you know your Sengoku films? Can you spot the cameos?


  2. #22
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    Dont forget to embargo China and malasia, so you will get a tradecenter, in time. Or somebody else will in Japan.
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    Yes, crush them! Crush them all! Ensure that no minor nobility is disloyal or rebellious against the future Shogunate! Ensure that the Emperor shall never find a pool of support to dislodge the descendants of the Uesagi Shoguns!

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    Thanks for explaining the intricacies of MM for those of us who have never played it. Quick question, do the latter prominent sengoku clans like the Oda, Hojo, Asai, etc. exist as in the game as revolters?

    Also, I hate to be a grammar/style Nazi but you really should use only one naming convention throughout the AAR, so if you have Uesugi Akisada you should also have Date Naoie, Yagyu Naoie and Tsutsui Sojun.
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  5. #25
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    Excellent crushing of the rebels.

    I find MM's system pretty clever but I really do feel that detail needs a UI. Provinces should have something in them other than the capital if they're going to be on the scale that they are, hopefully Paradox considers taking some of these ideas for the future.
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  6. #26
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    I'd like to second the thanks for explaining the MM Sengoku mechanics to the uninitiated. Though I have played a lot a Magna Mundi, trying to comprehend the Japan game has to this point been a river too wide and a bridge too far for me.

    It's also a credit to you that this n00b gained a better introduction to feudal Japan through reading two pages of this AAR than by having Japanese relatives for 30-odd years. Despite reading tons of James Clavell I don't think they were especially well-versed in medieval Japanese history, either.
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  7. #27
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    Dont forget to embargo China and malasia, so you will get a tradecenter, in time. Or somebody else will in Japan.
    Really? I never knew that mechanism. However, it seems a tad gamey given how foreign trade was mostly monopolized by the Shogun.

    Yes, crush them! Crush them all! Ensure that no minor nobility is disloyal or rebellious against the future Shogunate! Ensure that the Emperor shall never find a pool of support to dislodge the descendants of the Uesagi Shoguns!
    Oh NACBEAST-san, if only my commanders had a zeal just near yours, the Uesugi could waltz all the way to Kyoto

    Kozuke was, unfortunately, the most calm of all three provinces. Both Echigo and Musashi are divided provinces, so campaigning there will be a lot harder. Especially given the turn of events in the Kinai. But I'll leave all that for the next update.

    Thanks for explaining the intricacies of MM for those of us who have never played it. Quick question, do the latter prominent sengoku clans like the Oda, Hojo, Asai, etc. exist as in the game as revolters?
    Yup, both the Oda and (late) Hojo have cores on certain provinces and as such can rebel and/or be force released as a vassal. It's one of MM's weaknesses that these minor clans don't attempt to seize power from the established shugos.

    Also, I hate to be a grammar/style Nazi but you really should use only one naming convention throughout the AAR, so if you have Uesugi Akisada you should also have Date Naoie, Yagyu Naoie and Tsutsui Sojun.
    Well, I'm not an expert on Japanese names - unfortunately - and so I follow the game's logic, which... is kinda silly. But thanks for the heads up! I'll amend the styles for the coming updates.

    Excellent crushing of the rebels.

    I find MM's system pretty clever but I really do feel that detail needs a UI. Provinces should have something in them other than the capital if they're going to be on the scale that they are, hopefully Paradox considers taking some of these ideas for the future.
    Rebels are puny and will be destroyed. The real opponent is the neighbouring clans, who, I must say, are really, really dangerous.

    I'd like to second the thanks for explaining the MM Sengoku mechanics to the uninitiated. Though I have played a lot a Magna Mundi, trying to comprehend the Japan game has to this point been a river too wide and a bridge too far for me.
    Said plainly, the Japanese bakufu mechanics work in much the same way as the imperial system in Europe. If you seize a province within the empire the HRE will be pissed and demand it returned. If you do not comply a faction will be spawned called the Bakufu, which will send waves upon waves of troops toward the illegally held province. However, all of this requires the shogun to be strong/influential enough.

    It's also a credit to you that this n00b gained a better introduction to feudal Japan through reading two pages of this AAR than by having Japanese relatives for 30-odd years. Despite reading tons of James Clavell I don't think they were especially well-versed in medieval Japanese history, either.
    Haha, nice! But I must take your relatives in defence - feudal Japan is a strange entity for which I had to buy and read volume 3 & 4 of the Cambridge History of Japan to even understand the basics. And these gargantuan works doesn't even cover the Onin War thoroughly! Research for this era isn't a cakewalk, I can promise you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    Also, none spotted the cameos? No Kurosawa fans out there?
    I thought I watched all the movies, and remember them fairly well, but apparently not well enough.

    /shamefaced
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Taylor View Post
    I'd like to second the thanks for explaining the MM Sengoku mechanics to the uninitiated. Though I have played a lot a Magna Mundi, trying to comprehend the Japan game has to this point been a river too wide and a bridge too far for me.
    Thirded. I never actually played any of the Japanese clans because I was always intimidated by the feudal system modifiers Now I at least understand how it works
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    Also, none spotted the cameos? No Kurosawa fans out there?
    They must have been from Red Beard, Ran or Kagemusha, otherwise I probably would have spotted them.
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  14. #34
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    Looks good - Subscribes

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  15. #35
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    I thought I watched all the movies, and remember them fairly well, but apparently not well enough.

    /shamefaced
    It is rather obscure I'll give you that, but it's in the name(s).

    Fascinating AAR, I tell you what EU3 mods really fleshed Asia out. I'll be following, albeit in a sometimes confused manner.
    Having you aboard is wonderful enough. I hope you'll enjoy it

    I've only seen Seven Samurai and Rashomon, but more than 10 years ago, don't expect me to remember any names...
    It's from neither of those, so you're legally excused

    Thirded. I never actually played any of the Japanese clans because I was always intimidated by the feudal system modifiers Now I at least understand how it works
    It's good to have such positive feedback on the modifier explanation. I was a tad worried that it would ruin the historybook style, but now I know that if I run into similar mod specialities, I'll explain them thoroughly.

    They must have been from Red Beard, Ran or Kagemusha, otherwise I probably would have spotted them.
    Sorry, both names are from the same film. Here's one of the mentioned cameos (Mifune):



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    Don't know why or how but somewhere I lost track of the Huguenot AAR - must make an effort to catch up.
    Well, it wont be moving forward any time soon, but I'm not leaving it unfinished.

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    Sorry, both names are from the same film. Here's one of the mentioned cameos (Mifune):
    Its from Throne of Blood isn't it?
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  17. #37
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    Indeed it is! Congratulations on your second Kenshin Cookie!

    The exact cameos are Washizu and Miki, names of respectively the characters of Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura in Kurosawa's masterly retelling of Shakespeare's MacBeth, Throne of Blood.

    Regarding the coming update, I'm facing an exam of my latest project this Monday and will only have time to write it after that date. The GFX is, however, nearly completed. It will be a chapter exploring the rise of the feared Ikko Ikki as well as further examining the intrigues in Muramachi that will pin Akisada in one hell of a tight spot.

  18. #38
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    Chapter 3
    The Man From Tendai
    *

    -
    *
    -


    As the months trailed on and the Uesugi forces continued their campaign against the insidious league, it soon became apparent that shugo Akisada had won a crushing victory.

    In the two other provinces of the Uesugi domain, local figures of authority scuttled to impose the clan mandate on their own, lest the major army should march out of Kozuke and burn the land of traitors and those who did not oppose them.

    In Echigo, religious proselyting by an exiled monk had spread from the province of Echizen, startling the residing clerics who were busy profiting from cooperating with the buke class. The disturbances in the adjacent provinces prompted these monastery-forts to renew their oaths of allegiance to the Uesugi family, hoping an alignment with this major bushi clan would strengthen their security, should the fierce preachers cross into their domains.
    Likewise, in Musashi, the petty warlords that controlled many of the fiefs down the Izu peninsular also took steps to increase the amount of tax revenue meant for the Kozuke clan in order to prevent arbitrary campaigns against their hereditary possessions.



    By August 1483 Kozuke had been subdued thoroughly. Captured leaders were hunted down in their mountain castles, besieged and defeated. Some of the ikki ringleaders offered to shave their heads and swear allegiance as a token of regret whilst others committed ritual suicide on orders of Akisada. Those who submitted willingly were spared and had their castles confiscated, thus effectively removing the threat of revolt.
    In their place, the Uesugi shugo appointed loyal retainers and family members as suzerains of the conquered territory. In this way as well, the clan strengthened itself by accommodating dissatisfied younger sons with key points of authority.



    Gameplay notes:

    When having completed a concerted and/or provincial campaign successfully, the player will be then faced with a dual choice final event, symbolising the redistribution of the conquered interprovincial fiefs. The first option gives a permanent manpower boost and a meagre prestige boon whilst the latter rewards the victorious shugo with more short term accolades. If you complete a campaign whilst engaged in an inter-clan war you might just need that extra immediate manpower for reinforcing your armies (given how the Japanese fractions are chronically short of army replacements this is highly likely), a reduction in war exhaustion and more land tradition.
    Either way, regardless of your views on granting mercy and accepting your former enemy – the provincial sengoku modifier in question will be taken down a level. In Kozuke’s case in this scenario, the province will now have been completely unified, granting the Uesugi with their first modifier free holding. Yay!

    However, no sooner had Akisada stomped the ikki of Kozuke into the ground and extinguished their rebellious haze before the bushi armies were needed once more. The True Pure Land sect had snaked its way from Echizen and into the clan’s holdings in Echigo and itself Kozuke. Gathering further support by the day, the dangerous teachings of a single monk had finally found its way to the, albeit a lesser branch, Uesugi house.



    In the mid fourteenth century, a monk named Rennyo began to preach off the Buddhist temple on Mount Hiei. His message was that of peasant solidarity and unity against the encroaching demands of jizamurai and shugo. In the turbulent days before and after the Onin War, his teachings won many hearts in the scattered agrarian communities of – especially in central Honshu.

    Thus the True Pure Land (Jodo Shinshu or Ikko Ikki) sect of Buddhism, as Rennyo’s movement was known, was catapulted into the stage of feudal Japanese politics – sending a shiver down the spine of the landed buke class.

    However, fearing the growing strength of the Jodo Shinshu flock, the Tendai monks on Mount Hiei persecuted Rennyo vigorously and as a result he fled the monastery, travelling instead to the adjacent Omi province where he commenced proselyting his doctrines. By 1471, the exiled cleric had to press on further, why we do not know, and finally settled in Echizen province on the Japan Sea. There his teachings spread the furthest and many villages crossed over to his ideas.
    Community upon community embraced the True Pure Land, spurred by its prophet’s success at incorporating the village structure into the sect. Congregations (called ko) were organized on the foundation of existing agrarian institutions whilst temples (dojo) were established within the homes of powerful village elders, thus rendering the faithful with a religious centre directly connected to their livelihood instead of the conventional temples.

    Despite championing an egalitarian cause, Rennyo’s success was not owed exclusively to the willingness of the peasant society to adapt to his sect, the True Pure Land movement was only truly propelled into prominence once it commenced proselyting among the jizamurai and lesser warriors.
    These ‘upper class’ leaders were the ones who organized the lower members militarily into a true peasant movement.



    Flourishing rapidly, the Jodo Shinshu spread widely in Kaga and Echizen Province, soon becoming a very dangerous threat to the bushi establishment.
    Whilst the militancy of the organized peasants was an obvious threat to samurai rule, conflict would in the beginning be ignited by theological problems - translated into politics.

    The Ikko Ikki truly believed that by paying a stipend to the major temple of the sect, the Honganji in Osaka, they would be saved in the afterlife. This, of course, rendered them extremely unwilling to pay further taxes to their de facto martial overlords. Historically, the conflict meant that in Kaga province, the local shugo would toppled by the Ikki and the bushi government was replaced with a provincewide ko system.

    That the True Pure Land movement reached such prominence and disgruntled recognition from the buke class thus rested on mass peasant conversion coupled with military skill bestowed by higher class sect members, but the Ikki’s wealth and strength of communication was geo-political in its foundation.
    Peasants and lesser warlords all confessed to the sect’s teachings, but shining with radical change, Rennyo’s disciples also proselyted amongst the lowest of the low of Japanese feudal society – the merchant class.

    On account of the sect’s major urban centres being commercial centres founded on the mouths of rivers, the tradesmen of these cities also became involved in the Ikki movement, thus granting the Jodo Shinshu the geo-political link between urban commerce and agrarian output – cementing the movement’s social solidarity with economic cooperation. This would be the third strength of the Ikko Ikki trinity of power[1].



    One of these lesser warlords was Uesugi Fukaasi Mogami, a distant grand-uncle of the reigning shugo, who took up the mantle as militant organizer of a series of Ikko Ikki villages between Echigo and Kozuke.

    Alongside the local jizamurai, Fukaasi furiously persecuted any central tax collectors that came into the communities under his protection. As one of them lamented, “The Ikko Ikki do not make the slightest effort to pay taxes, and if pressed to do so, each district and village threaten to abandon cultivation. They are thoroughly uncontrollable!”[2]

    Such a blatant insurrection could not be tolerated in a world where steadfastness was the only shield against treachery. Akisada immediately steered his forces toward the Echigo border, vowing to obliterate his heretical uncle and crushing any Ikko ambitions in Uesugi lands.
    On the advance, the Shugo rebuffed any attempts at a negotiated peace, noticing the danger in which his rule would be should he allow the True Pure Land to further spread within the fragile grip he had finally succeeded at putting Kozuke in.


    Map showing location of the four battles of the Ikko Ikki insurrection of 1483/1484


    The Ikko Ikki mustered a large force of fanatical warrior monks and infuriated peasants who alongside Fukaasi’s retainers numbered some 4000 men, yet despite the drilling undertaken by Akisada’s uncle these units were unproven in the field – an expertise which the Uesugi troops did not lack, fresh as they were from the recent concerted campaign against the landed ikki of Kozuke.

    On the border of Echigo, the two forces met in their first pitched battle. Fought from sunrise to sunset as the loyalist retainers of Akisada stormed the Ikko positions, the carnage would be massive – the rebellious peasants losing half their infantry strength over the course of the battle.
    Effectively crippled, Fukaasi satisfied himself with conducting a hit and run campaign against non-True Pure Land villages in the border area between Echigo and Kozuke, forcing the pursuing troops of the Shugo into a race from farm to farm.

    Three more battles had to be fought before the Ikko Ikki insurrection had been crushed when Fukaasi found himself cornered on the 10th of February 1484 in Echigo. Overwhelmed by the approaching enemy forces, the Ikko leader deserted his men dressed as a beggar and made his way to Echizen.




    [1]This is all historically correct.
    [2]As actually said by the Shugo of Omi in relation to the Ikko Ikki.




  19. #39
    Excellent! Two groups of would-be traitors to the Uesagi Shugo brought down by the endless storm of the warriors the Uesagi and left to rot in the fields they had been so terribly beaten in. These victories must not be the last the Uesagi should know this year! Quickly, to Echigo! A province divided by nobles and possibly infected with the sympathizers of the Ikko Ikki must know the full-power of Akisada.

  20. #40
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    Pure Land is more or less the Japanese version of the White Lotus movement, so you know, you might have dodged a bullet there. Look at what they did to the Yuan

    Still, Cathar or Ikko Ikki, the professionals tend to win against them. Poor peasants.
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