View Full Version : Heroes of Chaos: Let's Play Legend of Cao Cao

Taishi Ci
01-24-2009, 06:04 PM
The novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is one of the classic Chinese novels, tells of the fall of the Han dynasty and the chaos that followed and led to the establishment of the Three Kingdoms period. If you are familiar with this story, chances are it's from either the Dynasty Warrior series or the RoTK strategy game series (or possibly some of their spin-offs like Dynasty Tactics or something more obscure like Destiny of an Emperor). Most of the games using the RTK setting are produced by the company KOEI, and Legend of Cao Cao is a PC game by them that takes place in the same setting.

The titular character Cao Cao (pronounced T'sao Tsao, not "Cow Cow") is one of the most important characters in the story, being the eventual founder of the Wei kingdom. The other major characters are Liu Bei, who founds the Shu kingdom, and the Sun family, who found the Wu kingdom. In the novel and in most depictions of the time, Liu Bei is portrayed as the underdog hero while Cao Cao is the tyrant villain, although sometimes the opposite perspective is used (Wu is almost always a third wheel in any story). I bet you can guess which way LoCC's plot will focus.

This game actually did not come out in the US market, but it has been recently translated thanks to the help of a few people on the Scholars of Shen Zhou forum (www.the-scholars.com), so if you end up liking it, give them your thanks. You can also find the game there if you want to play along.

If you'd like to actually read the story, you can find an online version here (http://threekingdoms.com/). I'll post individual character bios as we encounter them in the game. For reference, here is Cao Cao's bio. (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/caocao.php)

Legend of Cao Cao is best described as an SRPG similar to Fire Emblem or Shining Force. You move around on a grid map with units of different classes, taking advantage of terrain and layout to strategically fight larger forces, and so forth. We'll take a closer look in a moment when we get to the first stage.


As the game opens, Cao Cao is just a local cavalry commander. He and some soldiers are in a hurry to go squash some religious rebels, the Yellow Scarves, who are stirring up trouble. First, though, he gets stopped by an old man in the street.


Cao Cao introduces himself, and the old guy (Xu Zujiang, also known as Xu Shao (http://www.kongming.net/novel/kma/xushao.php)) mentions that Cao Cao has an unusual aura about him. Cao Cao asks what his aura reveals about him, and Xu Shao replies he could be "an capable minister in peace, but you will go down as a crafty hero." When Cao Cao asks if he's implying the peace is about to end, Xu Shao just laughs him off.


This is one of several choices during the game that affects your alignment bar, that red-blue bar in the upper right. At a certain part in the game, the storyline branches depending on which way the bar has been filled, with the Red path being the "Conquerer" path and the Blue path being the "Hero" path, more or less. This first question will give a pretty nice boost one way or the other, although we have enough of these choices to flip back the other way if you so choose.

So, first decision: agree with the old man, or try to be humble?

I would have named this thread "Better to betray the world than let the world betray me!" but that is way too long for a thread title. Oh well...

01-24-2009, 06:24 PM
I'm going to say "be humble", even though TT is filled with pricks who are going to send you into the red every chance they get and I'm fighting a losing battle here. =p

(actually first came across the story via RTK games, and then went and read a couple different translations. good stuff!)

01-24-2009, 06:44 PM
I'll go with 'Be Humble'. Cao Cao usually struck me as being a bit of jackass anyway, so may as well go against the grain.

01-24-2009, 07:38 PM
Cao Cao should be China's humblest skull-crushing warlord.

01-24-2009, 09:34 PM
The old guy said Cao Cao is going to be awesome. Who're we to disagree with our elders?

01-24-2009, 10:22 PM
this looks excellent.

01-25-2009, 09:53 AM
I agree with the humble path.

01-25-2009, 10:49 AM
It's a trick question. The first answer is boastful, whereas the second conceals his intentions - it is the craftier, and appropriate, response.

Pajaro Pete
01-25-2009, 11:18 AM
Um, we're awesome, and everyone likes confidence.

Octopus Prime
01-25-2009, 12:13 PM
What is a hero, but a man who disagree's with his elders?
~Edward James Olmos

I'm assuming he said some combination of those words at some point in his life.

Taishi Ci
01-25-2009, 07:09 PM
Cao Cao decides that although he's apparently going to be a Big Damn Hero, he isn't one yet, so he replies as such. Note that our alignment bar is more blue now.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/Taishi_Ci/LoCC-0-5.jpg http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/Taishi_Ci/LoCC-0-6.jpg
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/Taishi_Ci/LoCC-0-7.jpg http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k40/Taishi_Ci/LoCC-0-8.jpg

Battle 1: Battle of Yingchuan

Here we have the Yellow Scarves rebels, beating up on some government troops (in orange).


The Imperials don't seem to be doing too well.



They're referring to Cao Cao's troops here, but of course Cao Cao decided to ask an old man about the future so we're a little late.


These two mage-looking guys in the middle are the Yellow Turban ringleaders, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang. They decide to finish off the government troops, and the first turn starts.

Turn progression in LoCC works in a "player phase, enemy phase" system, so since there are no player units on the map yet, the orange troops take the chance to take a few swipes at the Yellow Turbans.


This is the full screen for the battles, which I'm showing here to take a look at some of the features. The rest of the time I'll just crop most of this out so the pics aren't so big.

At the top we have the Battlefield name, and the turn counter (current turn and maximum amount of turns). The picture of the landscape tells you what the weather is, which can alternate between Sunny, Cloudy, Raining, and Storming; this mostly just affects whether you and/or the enemy can use fire techs. And slightly below-right of that is the Mini Map window, which shows you the whole battlefield along with player and enemy unit locations. Normally it is just off-screen to the right, but I moved it in here to get it in the shot.

The picture buttons along the top are things like Title Screen, Save, Load, etc. They're mostly informational so there's no need to go into too much depth here.

The archer shooting the rebel needs no explaining, I hope. In the same vein as Fire Emblem, every physical attack triggers a counter-attack if the enemy can hit back, although there are no counter-counter-attacks. Since the rebels are all melee attackers, this one can't hit back.

Eventually, my allies all take their turns and it's the enemy's turn. Since the government troops are outnumbered more than four to one, you'd think this would be a pretty short battle. Fortunately, some reinforcements arrive.


Liu Bei (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/liubei.php), Guan Yu (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/guanyu.php), and Zhang Fei (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/zhangfei.php) are some of the major heroes of the novel, and we'll see a lot of them in this game. At this point, they had recently sworn an oath of brotherhood and raised a volunteer army to fight the Yellow Turbans.

The three of them move down to the north wall of the camp while the enemies attack the Imperials. The archer from earlier was already weak and he gets killed off by one of the grunts.)


On our next turn, Liu Bei seems to realize that things are bad.


Liu Bei: ...try to set fire around here.
Guan Yu: Right! If we can draw their attention this way, perhaps we can demoralize them.
Zhang Fei: Right, I'll go torch the place now.
Liu Bei: I don't want too many innocent deaths on either side. Do be careful.

Even in this game, Liu Bei can be annoyingly virtuous. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei move to start a few fires. Unfortunately, they're not very effective.


Taishi Ci
01-25-2009, 07:10 PM
Fortunately, they get by with a little help from their friend, the old man. Somehow he got here before Cao Cao did.
He uses a fire spell to spread the flames a little.




The rebels are understandibly upset that the back of their camp is now on fire, and all of them become confused. In this game, Confusion prevents them from attacking or counter-attacking, and their evasion drops to zero, so they're easy pickings now. Liu Bei decides to charge in to scatter them.


Of course, now that all the real work is done, Cao Cao and his buddies decide to show up.


Horseman: Captain! It looks like the fire was set by those men over there, but they don't look like our men...
Cao Cao: Hmm, looks like a volunteer force.

Cao Cao decides it might be a good idea to meet his future rival.


By "styled Mengde", he is referring to his style name, which is something like a formal nickname. You would refer to someone as their style name if you were particular friends with them. Most of the major officers in the novel had such names.

Cao Cao: I have orders from the imperial court to attack the Yellow Turbans. May I know your name, sir?
Liu Bei: I am Liu Bei, style Xuande. Though just a peasant by birth, I saw that the realm was falling into chaos and thus I raised an army for saving the people. I hope you will allow my two brothers and me to aid the official forces. We are completely at your service.
Cao Cao: It was thanks to you, sir, that the Yellow Turban units became confused. There is no other command that I would give you. All we need to do is to defeat the two men in the fort. You should fight independantly. See you later!

Fun fact: Before forming their army, Liu Bei was a weaver of mats and maker of shoes, Zhang Fei was a butcher, and Guan Yu was a wanted criminal.


And now the battle begins in earnest. You can only control Cao Cao, though, so most of it is still out of your control.

(Xu Shao actually shows up here and offers to give Cao Cao a tutorial, but we'll just skip that part since it's nothing particularly necessary. He also has some options for if you've completed the game, which we haven't done yet anyway.)


Here's our movement layout, with the blue squares showing where you can move. Note that you can't move past an enemy, regardless of their condition, only next to them. You have to wait until the next turn to move past. This helps with forming bottlenecks. The red transparent squares are Cao Cao's attack range.

We'll move down and attack this grunt on our right.


The game is nice enough to show the expected damage along with the chance to hit. The actual damage can be a little more or less than the number shown here. Since this enemy is confused, we can't miss.

We also trigger a conversation with one of the enemy commanders, Zhang Liang. You can trigger conversations like this by having certain officers move next to certain allies or enemies in battle. Most of the time it's just talk, but sometimes it can be important.


Zhang Liang: Save your breath! I'll kill you first!
Cao Cao: Hrmph, a rebel is a rebel. Not being able to know the fortune of times, you are not a worthy commander.

Now our allies do their thing and kill a few of the enemies. On the enemy's turn, confusion wears off on Zhang Bao and a random grunt, so Zhang Bao casts Poison on one of my cavalry soldiers.


Poison is an unusual spell here: It can do damage and poison a person, it can do damage but not poison, it can poison but do no damage, or it can do nothing.

Our turn again. This time we'll move onto one of those tents.



We find some Recovery Beans: these heal 30 HP. Not great, but they're free. We're done again, so more ally attacks kill off more of the rebels.

Taishi Ci
01-25-2009, 07:11 PM
On our fourth turn, our path to both Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang is clear, so I'll go smack Zhang Liang. This puts me next to Zhang Bao for another conversation:


Zhang Bao: The fortune of the Han is over, and the world belongs to the Yellow Turbans now. I say you should join too!
Cao Cao: The House of Han will come to an end eventually, but I know you're not the one who will be its successor!
Zhang Bao: You...! You have no need to give your life for the Han!
Cao Cao: I can't turn a blind eye to you and your evil sect ruining the realm. Prepare to die!

Our allies kill more enemies. All of the enemies remain confused except for Zhang Bao, who uses Poison on Cao Cao, but it wears off the next turn anyway. With Cao Cao I move to the other tent in the right corner and grab more beans. Zhang Fei decides to finish off Zhang Liang for me.


After this, one of the cavalry generics moved onto Zhang Liang's tent to hit Zhang Bao. In doing so, he picked up the Recovery Beans from that tile, which is good because I always keep items found by allies.

Cao Cao smacks Zhang Bao to soften him up a little before Guan Yu finishes him off.



Guan Yu picks up Book of Healing from Zhang Bao's corpse. This is one of the game's many unique items, each of which have special effects. We'll take a closer look at this next time when we see our pre-battle menus.

Of course, with the end of the battle comes a little small talk.


Cao Cao: Why don't you come and work together with us?
Liu Bei: There are still many places that are suffering from war. So, although I appreciate your invitation, we must go fight the rebels...
Cao Cao: All right. I won't pressure you then. I have other orders to carry out. Farewell!

Cao Cao and the government troops all leave to the south.

Liu Bei: This man is different from all the other government officers I've seen before. His name is Cao Cao, right...?


Liu Bei: Very well. Let us mop up the rest of the Yellow Turban rebels, and make our way to Gongsun Zan's camp. We can worry about the future when we get there.
Zhang Fei: Good. I don't really care, as long as we get our stomachs filled. Hahaha!

Cao Cao: (Liu Xuande... I wonder if we'll meet again as friends of foes. Only Heaven can tell...)

Next Time: Is Cao Cao a bad enough dude to save the Emperor?

(I'll be a little less comprehensive after this since that battle was mostly plot.)

Pajaro Pete
01-25-2009, 08:12 PM
Oh my god this game looks fantastic.

01-26-2009, 12:05 AM
Fun fact: Before forming their army, Liu Bei was a weaver of mats and maker of shoes, Zhang Fei was a butcher, and Guan Yu was a wanted criminal.

You didn't mention that the books describe Guan Yu as being rather attractive, what with his fuzzy caterpillar-esque eyebrows and all.

I'm loving this LP so far.

01-26-2009, 12:16 AM
Oh my god this game looks fantastic.

ETA- Great introduction to the forum, dude =)

Taishi Ci
01-26-2009, 09:45 AM
You didn't mention that the books describe Guan Yu as being rather attractive, what with his fuzzy caterpillar-esque eyebrows and all.

My mistake. Here are some descriptions of our new friends.

This man was no mere bookish scholar, nor found he any pleasure in study. But he was liberal and amiable, albeit a man of few words, hiding all feeling under a calm exterior. He had always cherished a yearning for high enterprise and had cultivated the friendship of humans of mark. He was tall of stature. His ears were long, the lobes touching his shoulders, and his hands hung down below his knees. His eyes were very big and prominent so that he could see backward past his ears. His complexion was as clear as jade, and he had rich red lips.

I'd like to say that that description is meant to be symbolic, but he is taunted several times in the novel as "Long Ears". So who knows?

Turning quickly [Liu Bei] saw standing there a man about his own height, with a bullet head like a leopard's, large eyes, a swallow pointed chin, and whiskers like a tiger's. He spoke in a loud bass voice and looked as irresistible as a dashing horse.

Liu Bei looked over the newcomer, item by item, and he noted the man had a huge frame, a long beard, a vivid face like an apple, and deep red lips. He had eyes like a phoenix's and fine bushy eyebrows like silkworms. His whole appearance was dignified and awe-inspiring.

Their leader was a man of medium stature with small eyes and a long beard.

Everyone else: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of the LP.

01-26-2009, 10:57 AM
Thanks for doing that. I love the physical descriptions in Three Kingdoms.

Taishi Ci
01-29-2009, 07:59 PM
Here's the first story interlude. Since this is the start of the first chapter it's kind of a long one.

First we have a nice FMV movie showing Cao Cao and his two cavalry dudes riding around the scenery. If you've ever seen the FFT opening, it's pretty much like that.


Chapter 1


This chapter kinda assumes you know a few things about the RTK story, which most Westerners probably don't, so I'll try to clear a few things up.

Emperor Ling gave himself completely to pleasure, and the court grew corrupt. The starving populace were thoroughly disgruntled with the House of Han. At this time...


This, thus, was the beginning of a troubled era.

Zhang Jiao was the one who formed the Yellow Turbans, but he died of illness; he's not shown in this game. Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang were his brothers and co-leaders of the rebellion.

Soon after the quelling of the Yellow Turban rebellion, Emperor Ling died. As there was no one to lead the court, a fierce power struggle broke out within the court. At the end, Dong Zhuo, with his military power, took advantage of the chaos and seized control of Luoyang, the capital city.

This is a pretty big simplification and you can read more about this part of the history in this chapter of the novel (http://threekingdoms.com/003.htm). The short version is that several of the government officials in the capital, Cao Cao among them, led a slaughter of the eunuchs that they felt were domineering the court affairs. Troops were called in from the provinces to assist with controlling the area. Dong Zhuo (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgyy/dongzhuo.php) had a large military in the western provinces that he marched to the capital with, and he used it to take control of the capital and become de facto Prime Minister.

By this point in the story, Cao Cao is a court official. In this scene, he is accompanied by one of his old friends, Yuan Shao (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/yuanshao.php), a leader from the distinguished Yuan family.


Yuan Shao: The world!? Damnit, that bastard is a beast...
Cao Cao: ...Benchu, just keep that to yourself. Lord Beast is here already.

Dong Zhuo arrives with his strategist Li Ru (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgyy/liru.php) and champion general Lu Bu (http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgz/lubu.php).


Dong Zhuo announces that he is going to depose the current Emperor, and replace him with another prince. The generic officers are hesitant about it but choose not to make a fuss. Yuan Shao, however, gets a little angry about the idea. Cao Cao tries to calm him down and make him go along with it for now.


Yuan Shao: Who's Lu Bu?
Cao Cao: You don't know? He's a warrior without an equal in the world. You're going to die as soon as that sword of yours comes out of the sheath. Forget it, it's better to just obey for now.
Yuan Shao: Dammit...

Dong Zhuo notes that no one seems to be disagreeing. He tells Li Ru to go make it happen.


Yuan Shao doesn't want to let Dong Zhuo get away with this.


Taishi Ci
01-29-2009, 08:00 PM
He asks Cao Cao what he plans to do.


So Cao Cao sticks around for awhile. Later, he goes to meet Wang Yun, the minister of the Interior.


Wang Yun isn't a big fan of Dong Zhuo, but he doesn't really have any way to work against him. Fortunately, some NPC officer happens to show up with the answer.


They get down to business.


Cao Cao expresses his displeasure with Dong Zhuo, and Wang Yun agrees before asking what can be done. Cao Cao mentions that nobody in Luoyang can stop him and none of the regional governors are strong enough to attack him. But then he floats the idea of an alliance of governors.


Wang Yun approves of the idea and mentions he'll get an imperial edict sent out to form the alliance.


Cao Cao points out that he doesn't even have any soldiers or money, so how could he head the alliance? Wang Yun replies that he'll give Cao Cao his Seven Star Sword to sell for money to raise troops.


Shall we boldly accept or try to pass the buck?

Next time, we'll meet our officers and take a look at the pre-battle menu.

Bonus Choice


01-29-2009, 08:27 PM
Cao Cao is both a man of action AND a playa. Choices 1, and 1.

This is a great way to experience Romance of the Three Kingdoms because I'm just too damn lazy to read it. My china literature allotment is reserved for Journey to the West.

01-29-2009, 08:36 PM
Cao is a fighter, not a lover. 1 and 2.

01-30-2009, 06:03 AM
Raise the troops and praise Diao Chan. Can you marry her yourself in this game? It'd be better than letting that punk Lu Bu get her.

01-30-2009, 04:51 PM
This game looks pretty kickass.

1 and 1. We're the heroes here, so it's our job to put our enemies to the sword, and we might as well pick up a hot babe along the way, right?

01-30-2009, 05:12 PM
We might as well pick up a hot babe, right?

I agree. Fighting is optional. Babes are far more important. 2 and 1.

01-30-2009, 05:43 PM
Diao Chan is standing right there. Only a dick would say "She's not that special..." to a lady's face. And I believe it has already been established that Cao Cao is not a dick.

1 and 1.

01-30-2009, 07:34 PM
1 and 1. Cao cao is a cunning hero, which precludes being dismissive of Diao Chan.

01-30-2009, 09:34 PM
Answering something earlier, derp derp

I would have named this thread "Better to betray the world than let the world betray me!" but that is way too long for a thread title. Oh well...

Actually, if you drop the quotation marks you'd make it just under the character limit. Want I should change it, or just leave it as is?

Taishi Ci
01-30-2009, 09:43 PM
This thread title is fine; that scene isn't actually in the game anyway (since it helps paint Cao Cao as a Bad Guy).

Taishi Ci
02-03-2009, 06:45 PM
Cao Cao decides that since things seem to be going to hell, he'll go ahead and organize this alliance himself.


This gives us a few points towards the red side of our alignment.

Wang Yun summons his daughter Diao Chan to bring him the Seven Star Sword so Cao Cao can have it. While she is away, he mentions that Diao Chan isn't his biological daughter, but he's raised her like a daughter since she was young.

When she comes back with the sword, Wang Yun asks Cao Cao what he thinks of her.


We get a few more red points for this one, so our alignment is about near the middle again.

Cao Cao takes the Seven Star Sword from Wang Yun and leaves to go back to his hometown.



He sent out notices of the Anti-Dong Zhuo Coalition to all the provinces.


You should know which ones are Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. Gongsun Zan is to Yuan Shao's right, Tao Qian is the old man below Gongsun, Sun Jian is below Cao Cao, and Yuan Shu is to the lower-left.

They were all men of great renown. On the other hand, Cao Cao sold Wang Yun's Seven Star Sword and used the money to recruit his own army.

As Cao Cao begins recruiting troops, some new officers arrive.


Cao Cao: Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, you're here!
Xiahou Dun: How can we not be, when you're raising an army?


Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan are brothers, and distant cousins of Cao Cao. However, Cao Cao's other relatives aren't here yet...


Two other men suddenly arrive as well with more men.



Yue Jin and Li Dian decide to join our noble cause. They'll be pretty helpful.

Finally, Cao Ren and Cao Hong show up.



Cao Hong is Cao Cao's brother; Cao Ren, his cousin. Now we have a good starting officer corps.


Cao Cao goes to arrange the meeting with the other governors coming to Chenliu for the Coalition.


Sun Jian is an army officer who fought the Yellow Turbans and who got his post through putting down a rebellion in Changsha. He isn't a nobleman, but he claims descent from the famous strategist Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War.


Yuan Shu is Yuan Shao's brother, although they're on poor terms. He's pretty arrogant as you can see here.

Taishi Ci
02-03-2009, 06:47 PM

Tao Qian is the elderly Inspector of Xuzhou Province, not far from Chenliu.


Gongsun Zan is a governor of the northeast provinces, who mostly deals with barbarians across the border. He brings along someone we've met before.



After the Yellow Turban Rebellion ended, Liu Bei wasn't able to get a high government position like most people, but Gongsun Zan found him and his brothers while marching and brought them along to the Coalition meeting.

Yuan Shao arrives last; Cao Cao steps aside to give him the main seat.


Cao Cao lets Yuan Shao take overall command since he is the most prominant general there, and says he'll just be the adviser. Yuan Shao agrees and becomes the Grand Commander.


The Coalition has to conquer the capital city Luoyang to defeat Dong Zhuo and save the Emperor. But to reach Luoyang, first they have to pass through two gates from the east. The first gate is Sishui Pass.


Someone has to lead the attack while the rest of the armies move to Sishui Pass.



Yuan Shao agrees to let Sun Jian do it, so he leaves to get ready. In the meantime, Yuan Shao assigns Yuan Shu to take care of the supplies.


Yuan Shu is a little angry that Yuan Shao and Sun Jian are going to get all the glory.


I'm sure nothing bad will come of this...

Anyway, we finally get to the pre-battle menu.


Here we can access most of the normal file options like saving and loading, and we can also buy and sell supplies and equipment, and equip things you've bought or won. You can even click on your officers and have them give you a few comments: some gameplay or strategy-related, some just for fun. Right now the shop just sells basic equipment that our officers already have, and some basic consumables that we don't need for this first battle.

However, since we picked up that Book of Healing from Zhang Bao, we should give that to someone. Its effect is to cure all status effects at the start of each round. Since there aren't really many status effects to worry about yet, we'll just give it to Cao Cao.

Once everything is in order, we go to the Deploy Menu to decide which generals to use.


The upper menu on the left shows all our officers, and the lower one has the possible lineup. For this battle, we have to use Cao Cao, Xiahou Dun, and two other officers (indicated by the tiles with arrows), and we can have up to three extra officers as indicated by the other tiles. We conveniently have seven officers, and there's no reason not to bring everyone other than for a challange, so that's what we'll do.


Battle 2: Sishui Pass


The blue troops are Dong Zhuo's defenders at the Pass, and the main Coalition troops are lined up along the right side. It's mostly just the Cao troops along with Guan Yu and a few troops guarding Yuan Shao. In the middle are Sun Jian's vanguard troops.

Xiahou Dun asks Cao Cao why he let Yuan Shao be the Commander, and Cao Cao explains that it was the only way Yuan Shao would have agreed to help out. As well, fighting with the Coalition will help make Cao Cao famous without being blamed if something goes wrong.

Taishi Ci
02-03-2009, 06:48 PM
Meanwhile, Sun Jian is having some issues.



To win this battle, we have to defeat all enemies. But this map looks pretty simple, so this should be easy, right?


A few ambush troops appear in the woods, but it's not a huge deal. It could be trouble for the Sun troops, though, so let's go help them out.

On our side, we have three Infantry units, Yue Jin, Li Dian, and Cao Hong; two Cavalry units, Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren; and one Horse Archer unit, Xiahou Yuan. Each type of unit has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as mobility, range, offensive power, defensive power, and so forth. Cao Cao's unit is unique, as he is a Warlord, although it is pretty similar to Cavalry.

We'll just spend the first turn moving forwards to help the vanguard troops.


The ambush troops and Hua Xiong's soldiers converge on the vanguard and smack them around a bit. Since they're already weak from lack of supplies (represented by lower starting HP), they're hurt pretty bad.

Yuan Shao asks if anyone can deal with Hua Xiong; Guan Yu swears that even though he's just a common soldier, he'll kill Hua Xiong personally. Yuan Shao is hesitant, but after Cao Cao points out that enemy morale would plummit if a mere soldier defeated their champion, Yuan Shao agrees to the request.

Let's see if we can split up and deal with those ambush troops first. The northern group's leader, Li Jue, should make for a nice target.


Xiahou Dun moves around to hit Li Jue. LoCC uses a general attack triangle similar to Fire Emblem's: Cavalry are strong against Infantry, which are strong against Archers, which are strong against Cavalry.

Since Xiahou Dun is in his first class right now, he can only attack in the cardinal directions.


Xiahou Yuan, as a Horse Archer, can only attack in cardinal directions two spaces away, and can't hit adjacent spaces. He makes up for this by having the range of a normal Cavalry officer. He manages to get off a critical hit, doing more damage than projected here.


Li Dian takes the next swipe. Infantry can't move as far as the mounted units nor are they as offensive, but they make up for it with high defense and being able to attack all adjacent spaces even in their first class. Li Dian in particular makes for a nice tank unit.

Cao Ren moves to the other space and swipes Li Jue as well, bringing him down to 9 HP. Now we can finish him off with a Wind spell from Cao Cao.



That should give you the basic idea, so I'll use less detail for the rest of the battle. We'll have Yue Jin and Cao Hong smack around one of the southern enemies and end our turn.


The vanguard manages to kill one of the enemy Cavalry; however, Hua Xiong and friends retaliate by taking down some of them in retaliation. Guan Yu arrives to help deal with the southern enemies.


The southern half needs to be thinned out, so we kill a few of those enemies to keep things manageable. Now things look a lot better. Cao Cao hands Sun Jian one of those Recovery Beans from the last battle since his HP was getting a little low.


Guan Yu and Sun Jian take care of some more enemies. Unfortunately, Hua Xiong and an infantry soldier kill off one of Sun Jian's soldiers. Now Sun Jian is the only vanguard soldier left. If only they had been sent those supplies...

Our own generals defeat a couple more enemies, and we start our attack on Sishui Pass itself.


At this point, Guan Yu finally reaches Hua Xiong...


...and challenges him to a Duel.


Duels in LoCC aren't interactive; they're basically just glorified conversations, although they tend to end in one of the duelists either retreating from battle or dying. Let's see how this one turns out.

Taishi Ci
02-03-2009, 06:49 PM




Guan Yu gets the Cloth Gloves from killing Hua Xiong, which go to us since he is our ally. Meanwhile, Sun Jian finishes off the infantry soldier. Now we just need to conquer the enemies guarding Sishui Pass.

On our turn, we converge on the gate guards and start dishing out some damage. You need to watch out for those foot archers though, because they do heavy damage against any cavalry units that get into range.


Li Su, the enemy on the tent inside the gate, is a Magician just like Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang were. He uses Poison on one of our units while the archers take some pot-shots.

Still, I'm strong enough to just brute force my way into the gate.


The enemies try to beat us back, but fortunately all their attacks miss us somehow. We might be able to finish them off next turn.


The two archers get their revenge by shooting Xiahou Dun full of arrows, and his health was low enough to force him to retreat. This isn't a huge issue; you only lose a battle if Cao Cao is defeated, and there is no perma-death (except for a select few cases). We'll finish things without him.

Cao Cao picks up an Antidote from the lower tent, an item which cures Poison. In the meantime, we manage to clear away the last of the enemies, with Guan Yu getting in the last hit.


Sun Jian is glad that we managed to come to his assistance, and hands over his sword, our second special item.



And with that, the Coalition conquers Sishui Pass!

Next time: Don't Pursue Lu Bu

How am I doing, guys?

02-03-2009, 07:20 PM
You're doing good so far, but it would be nice if you got a little more narrative. You've read the books, right? I'd like it if you sprinkled in a few things from those descriptions of the battles, like Guan Yu swearing he would take Hua Xiong's head and return with it before the other officers' tea could cool. You don't have to write a novel like Brer is doing for his LP, but sprinkling in a little more flavor would be cool.

02-03-2009, 07:23 PM
:thumbs up:

Though maybe a little more explaination of officers stats would be good. HP/MP is self/explanatory, but do Burst and Spirit do? Also, you mentioned also Class-changing?

Lastly, doesn't Xiahou Dun have an eye-patch in this game. Maybe that comes later?

Taishi Ci
02-03-2009, 07:26 PM
I could go over the little things like that more (some of them like Guan Yu's "the wine was still warm!" moment are in some of the battle dialogue) but from what I've read in other LPs, people seemed to want general summaries without being drowned in screenshots or text so I've been trying to find a healthy balance.

02-06-2009, 10:07 PM
This is wonderful. I've never read the book itself, but I've played enough (too much) Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Three Kingdoms that I know the basic gist of the story and it's key players and events.

But yes, by all means a little more narrative, if possible. I never knew, for example, that Guan Yu was a wanted criminal, and I never would've guessed it considering how noble he's portrayed in the games!

Zhang Fei being a butcher, however, doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

02-06-2009, 11:28 PM
This is good. I don't need as many details from the book, since I've read it several times, but others might enjoy them.

Lastly, doesn't Xiahou Dun have an eye-patch in this game. Maybe that comes later?

It happens later in the history, yeah. He eats his own eye off an arrow. Xiahou Dun is awesome.

Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 07:52 PM

Dong Zhuo is shocked that the Coalition managed to kill Hua Xiong and capture Sishui Pass. Li Ru mentions that they'll have to stop them at Hulao Pass now if they hope to defend Luoyang.


Dong Zhuo orders Lu Bu to take charge of the defense of Hulao, although Dong Zhuo will come himself to keep an eye on things.


Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu are glad that they managed to capture Sishui. Cao Cao warns them not to get too excited since they still have to deal with Lu Bu. Yuan Shu tries to write him off as just a simpleton.




At this point people begin to wonder where Sun Jian went and if he's alright. Yuan Shu thinks that since he didn't get any supplies, he's probably dead by now. But Sun Jian suddenly runs in still alive, and demands to know who was handling supplies.


Cao Cao replies that that was Yuan Shu's job. Sun Jian starts yelling at Yuan Shu for not sending him his supplies he needed at the front lines, threatening to kill him.


However, Liu Bei and Cao Cao ask Sun Jian to calm down and not do anything crazy until Dong Zhuo has been killed first.



Cao Cao goes over the details for the battle and Yuan Shao tells everyone to get their armies ready to move. The Wu troops are weak from the last battle, so Tao Qian's army and Liu Bei's group will fill the gap.


Back at the camp, let's take a closer look at our equipment. Here's some basic armor.


Equipment actually have their own experience levels going up to 3, and get experience from being used in battles. Weapons get experience whenever you hit someone, and armor get experience whenever you get hit; both get a smaller amount when you miss someone or someone misses you. Whenever your equipment levels up, they deal or block more damage.


Special items also have exp levels, which go up to 9, but they're weaker than normal equipment to compensate for their added effects.

The other benefit of leveling your equipment is that when you sell it at the shop, higher-level gear fetches higher prices. In addition, if your equipment is at level 3, you'll get a special stat-boosting bean for free when you sell it, with the stat it raises depending on the type of gear. More on this when we get around to selling gear.


The Ancestral Sword we picked up can only be given to units that can wield swords. Since Cao Cao already has a unique sword, his starting Sword of Heaven, we'll give this one to Li Dian for now.

Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 07:53 PM
Here is one of the conversations you can have with your officers; this one combines the informational aspect with some humor.



Li Dian: ...defeating an enemy unit.


And now we march on Hulao Pass!



As you can see here, Hulao is a much more formidable gate than Sishui was. Since the last battle's ambush didn't work, the enemies decided to just go for big defense here with Lu Bu on point. The Cao troops are in the middle, with Tao Qian above them and Liu Bei's group below. Yuan Shao is guarding the main camp again, of course.

If we want to have a chance at conquering the pass, we need to defeat Lu Bu first since he happens to be guarding the front door.


Of course, Dong Zhuo doesn't think we'll be able to do this.

Before the battle, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei have their own discussion.


Guan Yu: Brother, but still we need to defeat Lu Bu first.

Zhang Fei: Leave it to me. Watch me off him in one blow.

Guan Yu: Zhang Fei, he's not that easy to deal with.

Liu Bei: But since Lu Bu is the enemy's commander, if we defeat him, victory will belong to the Alliance.

Guan Yu: Very well. Let's focus on attacking Lu Bu, then.

Zhang Fei: Yeah, I'd like to see what he's made of.

We'll start off by forming a defensive wall in preperation for next turn.


Liu Bei and Tao Qian decide to follow our lead (they stay put until you move first).



Lu Bu decides to send out the assault team.


And here are the results.


The archers all lined up to hit Xiahou Dun and Cao Ren, taking advantage of their weakness to arrows, before the cavalry moved in for melee attacks. Cao Ren was hurt pretty badly here, but we shouldn't need to heal him ourselves; Liu Bei knows the Heal spell and can patch him up for us. First, let's get rid of some of this front wave.

Xiahou Dun and Li Dian kill off one of the northern archers; Cao Hong kills a southern archer on his own by double-attacking, which happens rarely but can be done by any physically-attacking unit. Cao Ren falls back and heals himself with a Recovery Bean while Yue Jin moves into his spot. Finally, Xiahou Yuan and Cao Cao team up against the cavalry in front of Cao Cao, killing him.


Our allies come in and clear out some of the weakened enemies for us. Here's Guan Yu getting in on some of the action.


The enemies form another wall in front of us to keep us from getting to Lu Bu. Yue Jin took a little damage, but nothing serious.


Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 07:54 PM
I decide to split up my forces to tackle the guys on the end, and let my allies handle the middle ones. By next turn we should have most of them dead.


By this point, Lu Bu figures he should probably help out.


He tries to help his remaining forces hold the line; unfortunately for them, it's too little too late. On the next turn I finish off the rest of generics, and only Lu Bu is left to guard the field.


Cao Cao decides that give Dong Zhuo a little piece of his mind now that it's clear he's winning, and rides right up to the gate to taunt him.


Cao Cao: ...call yourself the Prime Minister. How laughable! Come out! Stop being a coward! Hahaha!!


Li Ru: My lord, you must not. A noble person like you should not have to dirty his hands by fighting with rebels.

Dong Zhuo: You have a point. Send my orders to the troops: we must take Cao Cao's head.

Li Ru: Aye, sir.

Of course, we still need to defeat Lu Bu. But who can challenge him?


Zhang Fei decides to pick a fight with Lu Bu.





Unlike the Hua Xiong duel, this one has no gameplay results; it's simply a story event.

Guan Yu, not to be outdone, steps up for the challenge himself.





Lu Bu retreats back to his tent, killing one of Tao Qian's people. Like Li Dian mentioned during the camp menu, if Lu Bu kills someone with an attack, he gets a free attack on another adjacent enemy, in this case Xiahou Dun.

I have everyone attack Lu Bu this turn, but he's really strong and is also sitting on his tent again, which gives him added defense.


Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 07:56 PM
Liu Bei decides to step into the breach and fight Lu Bu himself.


Lu Bu: Since I'm a warrior, I do not care what my lord does. I only care about demonstrating my might on my own stage. Liu Bei, this is what makes us different people.

Liu Bei: ... (Warriors are men too... but this fellow really doesn't understand right and wrong.)

Lu Bu: Done yapping? Let's do some fighting already!





But even Lu Bu has to run out of energy sometime, and we finally manage to take him down with a blow from Guan Yu.



Dong Zhuo decides that since the units on the field have all been wiped out, they'll go to full defense and refuse to fight the enemy directly. This means all the remaining enemy units retreat off the field. Although we have to fall back now and regroup, this means we won the battle.


In addition to the gold we get from winning battles, we sometimes also get special items. This Leather Helm isn't a unique item, but it is available here before you can buy it at the store.

Later on, back in Luoyang, Dong Zhuo and Li Ru are trying to figure out what to do.


Li Ru mentions that now that the passes have fallen, it will be difficult to hold Luoyang against the Alliance since it has poor natural defenses.


Chang'an is the old western capital of the Former Han dynasty. Dong Zhuo agrees that it would be easier to hold out from Chang'an. However, the ministers disagree with abandoning Luoyang so suddenly.


Dong Zhuo comes up with the only logical conclusion given the situation.



Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 07:57 PM
Meanwhile, at Wang Yun's house...


Wang Yun is very happy that they placed their trust in Cao Cao's abilities.


Unfortunately for Wang Yun, a messenger from Dong Zhuo arrives.




They're forced to move west to Chang'an along with the rest of Dong Zhuo's court.


Seeing the blazes in the city, the alliance was shocked, and doubled their speed to enter the city.


Cao Cao brings Yuan Shao up to speed on things, and offers his own suggestion.



Cao Cao thinks that now is the time to destroy Dong Zhuo, while he's on the move. But Yuan Shao says that they're already accomplished their objectives, and refuses to allow any of the other armies to move.

What should we do?


And just because I missed it, here is Lu Bu's physical description:

Lu Bu was a conspicuous figure in front of the line. On his head was a triple curved headdress of ruddy gold with pheasant tails. He wore a warring velvet-red robe of Xichuan silk embroidered with thousand flowers, which was overlapped by golden mail adorned with a gaping animal's head, joined by rings at the sides and girt to his waist with a belt fastened by a beautiful lion-head clasp. His bow and arrows were slung on his shoulders, and he carried a long heavy trident halberd. He was seated on his snorting steed Red Hare. Indeed Lu Bu was the man among humans, as Red Hare was the horse among horses.

02-10-2009, 08:29 PM
You won't like Zhang Fei when he's angry!

Some of the color choices for the unit sprites are unfortunate. It's harder to tell the opposing units apart at a glance when one side features a blue-and-red color scheme, and the other reverses to red-and-blue.

As for the decision - chasing an enemy in retreat solo is a dangerous maneuver. Risky... too risky. Cao Cao is a smart man, he's not going to charge into an ambush, but wait and strike on his own terms later.

Taishi Ci
02-10-2009, 08:34 PM
Some of the color choices for the unit sprites are unfortunate. It's harder to tell the opposing units apart at a glance when one side features a blue-and-red color scheme, and the other reverses to red-and-blue.

It gets a little easier in the later battles when there are much less of you and much more of them.

02-10-2009, 08:38 PM
Cao Cao is valiant and will pursue the tyrant to the ends of the earth, even if none of the alliance are brave enough to aid him.

Taishi Ci
02-13-2009, 03:42 PM
Need a couple more votes for this one.

02-13-2009, 05:57 PM
Fall back. If the rest of alliance won't pursue Dong Zhuo, it would not be wise to do so on our own.

02-13-2009, 06:05 PM
Pursue! I'm sure Liu Bei and co will tag along... and if they don't, who needs them anyway?

03-01-2009, 07:30 AM
Hey guys, can we get tie-breaker for this? I know I can't be the only one looking forward to this LP.

03-01-2009, 08:38 PM
I suppose if we can't get any new votes I'll withdraw my vote to pursue, even if it means Dong Zhuo will be given time to found a new kingdom, consolidate his power, and come back to whip our asses.

Taishi Ci
03-17-2009, 10:48 AM
Sorry about the long wait, the past month has been pretty rough on me. I will start updating this again, starting with one later tonight.