• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Dewirix

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PrawnStar/Franconian/Enewald - Enewald's right on this one. Shaanxi is Qin's capital, so I can't take it. It does give me a useful CB on them, but they're hitting me with enough spies that I don't really need it. Not much left to take from them anyway.

PhilleP - Mangling Ming is a might muddled! Apparently HTTT makes it more likely that big states such as Ming collapse and it's not really anything I did. We'll see what Divine Wind does to this situation.

Ashantai - All of China that's worth having anyway!

Shadowkano - Colonising is certainly the plan. The next NI will either be QFTNW or Colonial Ventures. Japan's gone all Ecumenical so Unam Sanctum would seem to be a bit contradictory. The relatively slow expansion means I've got a lot of cores and thus pretty low revolt risk, so Bill of Rights doesn't seem worth it.

History_Buff - The only province Manchu have that's worth having is Hinggan, which is their capital and impossible to get in a single war. Since I share a border with it I've got used to just sending a stack over to sack it every time war breaks out. Probably a fairly realistic attitude towards the northern barbarians.

No update again as I'm out tonight, so time for another interlude!
 

Dewirix

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Interlude - The Court on the Yangtze
[I]Geki[/i] Hideki Teramachi said:
Waking up to find the room swaying gently from side to side is not so unusual an event to be a cause for alarm, but this time it showed no signs of stopping. The sunlight pouring into the room suggested I had slept through the early part of the morning so it seemed unlikely I was still drunk.

A moment's reflection and I had regained my bearings. The swaying which had so disturbed me was a perfectly normal state of affairs aboard a ship rather than a sign that last night's sake had done permanent damage. I was alone, although the state of the blankets suggested that this had not been the case the night before. Once again I was glad that my beloved wife had opted to stay in Kyoto rather than accompany me to China - her disapproving looks have a nasty habit of putting me in a bad mood and that is about the only luxury I cannot afford.

Having summoned my manservant Tsutomu I had him bring me some washing water and then sent him off to fetch breakfast. Shipboard life is hardly conducive to fashion, but I have standards to maintain and after washing I dressed myself as carefully as circumstances would allow. Having bolted down the rice balls and fruit that Tsutomu had returned with I made my way to the state chambers to see if Yukikatsu needed my services today.

I strolled along the deck allowing the fresh air to properly wake me. It was a fine day with only a little breeze and for that I was truly thankful. The Celestial Dragon was impressive in many ways, but it always amused me that these tower ships - however formidable in war and however opulent when refashioned for more peaceful uses - were not particularly well-adapted to water. The river around us was filled with far more serviceable ships that carried the rest of the court in much greater safety, but my master was keenly aware of the need for spectacle and headstrong enough to see the risks as a challenge.

Skirting round the main entrances to the state rooms I carried on through the guards towards the private cabins, stopping for some banter with Junichi, the officer on duty: apparently I was seen leaving last night's festivities with Chou. Always useful knowing what I've been up to, even if second-hand.

On entering the cabins I was met by Masao, one the interchangeable assistant secretaries. I pride myself on being able to get on with anyone, but these bureaucrats were almost as hard work as the Chinese. We bandied pleasantries about the day and I asked if he had had any news from his brother in Hainan, all the while fighting down the urge to walk off and find something more interesting to do. I did learn that the Emperor was finishing a meeting with emissaries from Wu and would see me when they had left. Although this was good news it did mean there was no polite way of disengaging from the conversation until that time.

After rather too long discussing the ins and outs of buying farmland in Hitachi a bell rang to announce that the Emperor had concluded his audience. Masao scurried off to present my introduction while I took the time to straighten my clothes and compose myself.

I was ushered in to see Yukikatsu in his private office and found him surrounded by his usual daytime entourage of clerks and secretaries. He was dictating a charter or somesuch as I arrived, but waved everyone out of the room as I entered. I approached, bowing deeply.

"After the amount you drank last night I'm surprised you still have your balance", the Emperor said. "We are both too old to behave like young soldiers."

"I recall drinking far less in those days, Majesty."

"Then I fear for your memory as well as your health", Yukikatsu said. "You wouldn't be Hideki if you didn't behave in this way I suppose."

I thought about this, considering whether or not a more modest life would have suited me better. I was certainly getting to the age where I wouldn't be able to stand the pace, but a retirement of quiet contemplation held few temptations.

"No man should be forced to go against his nature", the Emperor continued, "although we do not always have the luxury. I dream of expanding Japan's empire to the four corners of the earth, but find myself constrained by the need to avoid offending states so distant I have barely heard of them."

"It is the nature of the weak to despise the strong and seek their ruin", I replied. "It is still possible to amply exceed your father's ambitions."

"He was more cautious than I", Yukikatsu replied, "but I too see the need to keep the Empire's reputation intact. I must direct my desire for glory into the narrow channels left open to me."

It was already a commonplace among courtiers that another war with Wu was inevitable. The weak despise the strong with good reason, and Wu were very weak. However, until today the Emperor had been careful not to give any indication of his own thoughts.

"What would you have me do?", I asked.

"I need to know the lie of the land and the attitudes of the provincial nobility in Ganzhou and Changsha. I'm sending you as an ambassador to the Wu court. I want you to make the most of your journey both there and back".

Drinking with provincials was one of the less glamourous but definitely safer aspects of my job. It was only when the Emperor told me to be ready to leave with the returning Wu emissaries that I realised we were a lot closer to war than I had thought. This slow procession up the Yangtze suddenly seemed less like a pleasure cruise and more like a floating army.
 

Ashantai

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Love the update! :)

Nice work!
 

Dewirix

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The Golden Age: 1619 to 1631

Emperor Yukikatsu, Aug 1604 - Feb 1631

The war against Wu that the whole court had anticipated was not slow in coming. The Wu court did themselves no favours with their ham-fisted attempts at espionage and decision to divert their efforts further south.

The majority of the war proceeded without incident, but the small Japanese force in Yunnan found themselves bearing the burnt of the Wu counterattack. An army of 18,000 Wu soldiers under their talented leader Geiping Gao threw themselves against fewer than 8,000 Japanese.

warbj.jpg


The first battle was an outstanding victory for Japan. The second was more a testament to determination than military success, but the tale of the 'Iron 8,000' would continue to inspire Japanese soldiers for centuries to come. Their sacrifices were not in vain, for they held the enemy off long enough to allow Yukikatsu to subdue coast as far Hainan.

Once again Wu were forced to bow to Japanese demands.

postwar.jpg


The end of the war marked the Emperor's last conquest. From this point on his enemies would be much more wary of giving Japan a reason to attack. Furthermore the conquest of Guangzhou brought the site of Oogimachi's death within the borders of the empire. Yukikatsu presided over a solemn ceremony to dedicate an imperial temple at the location his ancestor had fallen.

Concious of Japan's status abroad the Emperor now devoted his efforts to explaining his actions in foreign courts.

infamy.jpg


Meanwhile he turned his attention to the inner wellbeing of the Empire. Under his guidance new methods of educating the bureaucrats who maintained Japan's possessions were developed. A great new institution of learning - a university - was established in Kyoto, while a network of schools were set up to identify promising young pupils.

universities.jpg


At the same time Yukikatsu proved himself a tolerant ruler. Japan's empire encompassed a vast array of religious beliefs and the Emperor was determined to protect every one of his subjects.

religiont.jpg


Yukikatsu was less pleased when a province on the Japanese mainland decided to turn its back on the imperial cult, but his principles prevented him intervening.

The decade following the war with Wu was a golden age for Japan. Down to Yukikatsu's death in 1631 the prestige and strength of the Empire was completely unchallenged.

However even before Yukikatsu died there were signs that this dominance would not go unchallenged forever.

visitors.jpg
 

Ashantai

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First contact indeed! :eek:

Better be ready to face them in 50 years when they come a-knocking.
 

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Oh yeah! Finally an encounter with the only people able to oppose you!

Ill assume you have a somewhat large navy? Blocking the waters at Johor should let you keep them at bay for as long as you need.

Now would be a good time to sell them a lowvalue province and westernise? Precedent being China loaning Hong Kong and Macau as concessions of defeat etc
 

Dewirix

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Zeldar155 - No, it's the friendly Spanish. Apparently they have this great thing called mass, where you get and drink wine made from grapes. They seemed awfully keen that we should try it, but we're going to reserve judgment for a bit.

dsb3232 - Full westernisation plus military westernisation is what, -21 stab in total? Fun indeed.

Matrim_Cauthon - Having played another 37 years the Europeans seem content to take in the sights along the coast rather than land. Good thing too as I've not been really doing much research into land tech.

Ashantai - I'm hoping to have a little bit more time than that. Still no convenient neighbour to westernise from.

Enewald/FinnishFish - Human wave is effective, but my manpower's not as high as it might be. I think it's to do with my capital being on an island. I've just past the 100k mark, which doesn't seem much for holding the bulk of China.

Shadowkano - The navy is fairly large (20 carracks), but I doubt it could stand up to the more modern fleets the Europeans might send my way. As to westernising, the plan is to let it happen naturally rather than look for a border ASAP. If I was going down that route Hainan and Macau would be excellent choices.
 

Dewirix

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The Mandate of Heaven: 1631 to 1668

Emperor Kiyohiko, Feb 1631 - Dec 1668

Kiyohiko was the first of the Yamatos to mark his ascension to the throne with a Chinese ceremony in Nanking as well as the more traditional coronation in Kyoto. His reign marked the beginning of a period that saw new developments in Japanese cultural and economic life.

The strange ships from the west had brough a modest influx of traders and holy men whom Kiyohiko allowed onto Japanese territory in small numbers. Though obviously barbarians, the westerners had shown much skill in crossing the seas and produced certain devices, such as clockwork and glass lenses, that were of great interest to the new Japanese universities.

Nevertheless, the newcomers had little impact on the overall life of the Empire except in one regard.

housekeeping.jpg


On assuming the throne Kiyohiko had given much thought to what the Europeans said about founding outposts in far-flung locations. Alongside the normal public works projects he sponsored - road building and putting the rice fields into more sensible units - the Emperor commanded that settlers should be planted on the islands to the south.

The province of Bose was identified as suitably near to the mainland to demonstrate the feasibility of this idea.

southseas.jpg


Unfortunately for the settlers initial attempts produced mixed results. Kiyohiko would not live to see Bose integrated into the Japanese Empire, but he had laid the groundwork for peaceful expansion rather than the constant warfare which was all China could offer.

That this was the case was demonstrated in 1642 when border clashes between Japan and Wu escalated into a full-scale war.

Unlike his father, Kiyohiko did not seek to make a name for himself in combat or extend the empire far beyond its present Chinese holdings.

However, he could not afford to allow Japan to appear weak.

wuwar1650.jpg


The war demonstrated the superior skill and courage of Japanese soldiers as they were able to hold off and then destroy the larger Wu formations sent against them.

In the peace treaty that followed Kiyohiko asked only for limited gains designed to prevent the problems that had caused the war from resurfacing. More experienced diplomats observed that cutting Wu off from its possessions in the southeast would likely only lead to more instability, but they acquiesced to the Emperor's wishes.

wupeace.jpg


Almost a decade of peace followed Japan's victory, but in 1651 the Emperor was reluctantly forced to war again. Qin's continued sabotage and meddling in Japanese internal affairs necessitated a punitive war.

Although Japanese forces held their own in the battles with Qin, their enemy was able to raise a major revolt in the new southern territories.

qinwar1650.jpg


The defeat of the substantial garrison Japan had left to hold the province argued for a swift end to the war. A peace was concluded that again saw Japan make limited gains. Kiyohiko listened to the warnings of advisers who argued that a weak Qin would likely only invite a more agressive power into the region. Allegations that these same advisers were in the pay of the Qin court were never proven.

As a result of the wars of Kiyohiko's reign Japan now controlled the coast all the way to the border with its vassal, Lan Xang. Such a vast territory was proving difficult to administer by traditional means and the last decades of the Emperor's life saw revolts become more frequent.

Inspired by examples from the European traders, scholars at Kyoto University put forward a new form of government which relied on bureaucrats trained in a modified version of the Chinese civil service examinations.

Kiyohiko, who until this point had had to administer the Empire from his personal household was only too glad to agree to the change. To others, however, it was another dangerous example of the Emperor's fondness for all things Chinese and in the short term it actually made Japan less stable.

The reforms eventually proved their worth, allowing the productive power of the Empire to be taxed more efficiently and thus strengthening it still further.

status1668.jpg


Kiyohiko died at the end of 1668 leaving the government in the hands of the bureaucracy he created. This lasted until the following year when his son, Reigen, was old enough to take the throne.
 

Enewald

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The shoguns surely must revolt due to this change... :rolleyes:
 

Shadowkano

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It's most likely a good thing that the focus has switched onto internal-infrastructure, Japan will need every resource she has available to her if the europeans decide to take a bite out of your China.

Of course, 20 carracks might be enough to take on an AI controlled fleet, they tend to spread out their ships rather than doomstacking them.

Oh yeah, colonies, Bone always kills my first colonist in every game too, must be hardcoded that way

Do you intend to finish off Wuu and Qin?
 

Dewirix

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Enewald - They can try, but I'm not sure how far they'd get against the new model Imperial armies. Besides, they'll readily find a new place as bureaucrats - it worked in 1868.

Shadowkano - Not sure I like the idea of gambling on a win against a European fleet, but it might come to that.

Colonisation is about to pick up in the next update.

Wu's got a bit more land I wouldn't mind having. I'm content to leave Qin with some of the more westerly provinces as there isn't much there worth having.