Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Discussion on the 1879 roleplaying game.
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TheWanderingJewels
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Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Post by TheWanderingJewels » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:14 am

This is a bit of fiction I'm fiddling with after reading over the general ideas about Japan in 1879 and the lead up to the status quo in Japan. I'm not quite done with it, but I'm doing research about the Satsuma Rebellion against the Imperial government of the time to get it to end up how they are kind of wanting to have it go.

Shiroyama, September 24, 1877, 1:00 AM

The fog hung heavy over the Bay of Kagoshima as the naval artillery in the bay had fallen finally silent as the last of the vessels cracked in half as detonation of it’s powder magazine tore the ship apart, sending fragments spiraling through the air, giving light to the fog in areas as the ships burned.

Saigo Tamamori thought it beautiful as it reminded him of prayer candle boats on Children’s Day. But the thought left him as he scowled through the field classes his gaijin ally had handed him. The Satusuma had found it distasteful, but they had had to look outside Japan for allies as the rebellion was not going well. The Imperial Japanese Army was sadly well equipped & moderately trained and had the sheer raw numbers of conscripts that the Satsuma could not hope to match.

Until 1875, when strange weather and what could only be called answers to prayers to the Kami began to manifest. A prayer for healing or protection having a visible component and/or effect, reports of ghost Bugeisha attacking IJA troops, carving through them with speed. Saigo was a practical man and had simply thought it was Satsuma samurai performing brave hit and run raids. Until he had seen spirits himself manifest during the Siege of Kumamoto Castle. And had seen others react to it, proving it was not some form of strange hallucination.

While Kumamoto had fallen, it had been costly enough as the IJA forces under Major General Tani Takei, while pathetic and incompetent, delayed the Satsuma for the main bulk of the IJA under Kuroda Kiyotaka and Yamakawa Hiroshi to make it to the field, where the sheer numbers began taking their toll. The battle was hard fought and his force had made the cost bloody for the IJA at Miyakonojō and Nobeoka, each battle becoming stranger and more savage as more what the peasantry was calling miracles were starting to manifest.

Saigo knew better with the contacts he still had at the Imperial Court. According to reports from The British and the American Union. Magic had manifested and people had started to learn to harness it, if somewhat crudely.

The first part had been obvious whenever he’d woken up in the morning and saw his face, which was now somewhat resembling the legends of the oni. Reddish skin, pronounced fangs, which made speaking a something of a chore, rather long hair once again, and small horns. That many of his troops had been struck with this...affliction. As had the peasantry, nobles, and any area of Japan without regard to social rank. While some had become short and squat, or thin and tall, Some had become more robust, or huge and ugly like orges of legend. But that was simply what was and didn’t particularly interest him.

The second part is what interested him. As soon as he heard that prayers could be manifested and used. He had his spies and the Satusma scour their lands for any indication of those with the ability to call upon the kami. The Imperial government had initially discounted the reports of ghosts and other phenomena as Imperial Army incompetence and Satsuma propaganda, until only recently.

But it had bought the Satsuma several badly needed victories and tested how magic could be used on the battlefield. It had given enough of an edge to let the Satsuma have several exceptional victories against the Imperial Army while being able to withdrawal their forces in much better order that he could have hoped for. And allow his samurai to be healed far faster than he’d dreamed. And survive what would normally have been mortal wounds.

The Satusma victories had also proven to be a rather unexpected recruiting tool as many of the lower classes had preferred samurai protection against what they saw as the world coming undone against the forces of modernization. Saigo knew this was a rather absurd idea, but he did play it as those surrounding The Emperor being against the heavens, which helped him recruit some newer and rather zealous troops. While not very skilled, they could fire the imported Spencer rifles, and a few new creations that had just come out of testing.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:27 pm

Very cool.

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Andrew1879
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Re: Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Post by Andrew1879 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:04 pm

Interesting start. Are you a scholar of Japanese history, or from Japan, or both? We will be looking for a local author when we get to the Japan sourcebook.

TheWanderingJewels
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Re: Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Post by TheWanderingJewels » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:34 pm

An amateur scholar scholar at best (undergraduate degree), but I have many books on the various historical periods of Japan , working my way up to the Modern period. I'm trying to scribble up something that would fit, allowing for the historical differences, what I have seen so far and Kind of aimed in what is intended for 1879.

The Satsuma Rebellion, and Shiroyama, really was the last gasp of the Samurai in our world. However with the introduction of Magic into the equation, it makes things very different. The background logic I'm having for the Satusma Rebellion and eventual victory....well..draw, really is that the Satusma clan caught on early that magic worked and worked very hard to find those who could use magic, and use magic to strategic and tactical benefit, militarily and socially. The Imperial Government, which Saigo actually was loyal to, had a cabal of newer an more modern officers who did not like the Samurai (Historically proper term: Bugeisha (Armed Gentry)) and wanted them wiped out because of the power they held financially and socially, and had multiple actions dedicated to this. It also was very slow on the draw of accepting magic (prayers, really) working. By the time it did accept it, The Satsuma and it's allies had grown into a force capable of holding it's own.

This story handles the last battle between the Satsuma and Imperial Forces. I'm planning some post script setting up the tension between both sides, as both serve the Emperor, but work to stab each other in the back while no one is looking

Sorry it's taken a bit to reply. Currently training for a new job position at work

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Andrew1879
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Re: Story: Battle of Shiroyama (Castle Mountain)

Post by Andrew1879 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:55 pm

I understand the dayjob issues far too well. I just started a new position two weeks ago.

One thing to remember for the game world is that the attempt by the upper classes to suppress the peasantry's gaining access to Western technology, and specifically firearms, ultimately failed. The peasants, no strangers to hard work, learned gunsmithing and started making their own. You end up with a three-way battle between the Imperial forces, the bugeisha, and the peasantry, one with better revenue but stodgy, one with magic but having taken a beating resource-wise, and one with guns and nothing to lose. Nippon may be at a low simmer by the time the sourcebook comes out, but it's going to boil over with frightening quickness any time there's the slightest provocation.

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