Dong Zhuo is a playable and historical character featured in Total War: Three Kingdoms. Nicknamed The Tyrant, he is a default leader and one of the Vanguard class heroes in his faction. His faction also begins the campaign having vassalized the Han Empire, de facto making him in control of most of the grand campaign map at the beginning. He is not directly playable at the beginning, only unlocked after player defeats him in battle or reaches the rank of emperor.
Dong Zhuo is the warlord for anyone who's up for the challenge of keeping a crumbling realm together, ruling with authority and by inciting fear – for those willing to step into the shoes of a true tyrant.
Dong Zhuo is trying to hold onto the last remnants of Han imperial power – but as his fist grips tighter and tighter, opposition from the outside grows. It is this balance that is the cornerstone of Dong Zhuo's playstyle: will Dong Zhuo try to rule with an iron fist, stabilizing his realm internally but creating external enemies, or will Dong try to – at least in appearance – be gentler, and make his enemies turn against each other?
Crucially, Dong Zhuo starts with the Han emperor – Emperor Xian – under his control. This means that the still-mighty Han empire is his Vassal, which provides him with significant income and also means he can annex and integrate Han empire territory by claiming ownership for himself (something that all factions are able to do if they control the emperor). Dong Zhuo also starts at a higher faction rank than all of the other playable factions.
Dong Zhuo also has access to a unique resource: intimidation. This measures his authority, exercised through his iron fist and his cruelty, and the amount of control he exerts over his territory and his subjects. High intimidation keeps characters under Dong Zhuo in line with increased satisfaction and reduces corruption across his realm – which is key in the later stages of the campaign. Conversely, low intimidation means less satisfaction and higher corruption.
Intimidation is increased by annexing or integrating Han Empire territory, winning battles, or executing other characters. Intimidation decreases when characters are promoted, or battles are lost, as well as decaying over time. Dong Zhuo can also spend intimidation to coerce other factions into more efficient diplomacy, meaning that with high intimidation he can force other factions into certain deals.
Overall, Dong Zhuo's playstyle revolves around juggling internal control with external threats – much like the historical Dong Zhuo himself. Dong Zhuo has a lot of power, and the ability to make a lot of different things happen, but the reins are slipping away from him and all the other warlords want a slice of the pie. And there's only one way to know how to maintain the upper hand: to rule with intimidation, tyranny, and an iron fist.
- Name: Dong Zhuo
- Legendary Character: Yes
- Unique Character: Yes
- Background: Cruel Tyrant
- +10 Cunning
- +20 Instinct
- +30 Authority
- +1 Resilience
- +50% Income from family estates (if faction leader)
- -1 Mustering turns (faction wide, if prime minister, heir or faction leader)
- +6 Morale when attacking (faction wide, if prime minister, heir or faction leader)
Attributes and TraitsEdit
- Main article: Attributes (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Pending for finalized Attributes and traits data
- Main article: Skills (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Pending for finalized skills data
- Main article: Retinues (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Pending for finalized retinues data
- Main article: Ancillary (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Dong Zhuo starts off with The Blade of Xiang Yu already in his weapon slots.
As with all the warlords, Dong Zhuo's path to victory depends on the player. If the player opts for a more passive, defensive strategy, the other warlords will eventually turn against each other, meaning Dong Zhuo will need to strike out in the later stages of his campaign. However doing so will allow the other warlords to consolidate their power which will lead to Dong Zhuo facing much stronger factions, the player will have to battle out the factions on an equal footing.
On the contrary, an aggressive action will allow for more expansion much earlier in the campaign but doing so will result in a larger opposition from outside forces (however this strategy is more or less the best option as Dong Zhuo begins the game at war with almost everyone on the map) leading the player to have to battle against much more enemies but at a weaker stance.
Whatever approach the player chooses, Dong Zhuo will want to do his utmost to “protect” Emperor Xian and make sure he exploits his position – and his role as tyrant – to the fullest.
As Dong Zhuo, time is on the player's side. If the player can consolidate the immediate situation, then the player will be in a good position for the mid game. However, the situation is difficult, mostly hinging on the success at stabilizing Dong Zhuo's starting situation and preventing the former coalition from reuniting against him.
Dong Zhuo's enemies are primarily to the east: Yuan Shu, Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Zheng Jiang are all within striking range, and can become a threat early on if the player is too bold or ignores their actions.
To the north and south there is the Han Empire territory that Dong Zhuo could claim for himself, but such actions will draw a lot of attention and might make other factions more aggressive towards him. It will also lead to him becoming more untrustworthy and can result in one of his other vassals eventually declaring independence. However, it might still be the most efficient strategy to be as aggressive as possible in order to get an early advantage and the fact that Dong Zhuo already begins the campaign at war with almost everyone else as well as the majority of warlords tend to invade Han territory means he may expand his territory with ease much quicker. This action however may lead to difficulty in holding the territories as it may cause the player's forces to be overstretched.
Equally, the player can try to remain relatively defensive, consolidating Dong Zhuo's situation and letting the other warlords turn against each other. However, with this strategy the player risks falling behind in the race to establish a strong mid-game power and may result in facing much stronger opponents.
- Main article: Initial Dilemma
Dong Zhuo's dilemma primarily concerns his relationship with – or alienation from – Lü Bu. However, it's up to the player to decide how best to handle the situation and keep the famous warrior in line. Depending on player's choices, it may very well turn out that Dong Zhuo meet an early demise and end up being succeeded by the culprit himself…
Unlike the other warlords, this outcome is dictated by not one but a chain of dilemmas and events, each of which depends on the selected game mode.
In Romance mode, Dong Zhuo's dilemma chain focuses around Diaochan, the beautiful serving girl who turned Dong Zhuo and Lü Bu against each other with their jealousy (which eventually led to Dong Zhuo's death). As Dong Zhuo, you can influence these events by giving up on Diaochan in order to gain Lü Bu's approval – or confirming his affection by marrying her, thus leading to a more difficult outcome.
- Main article: Timeline (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Despite his reputation, Dong Zhuo was a chivalrous youth with a talent for horseback archery who spent his earlier years travelling the Qiang region and befriending many great men of valor.
As an adult, he returned to his birthplace of Longxi Commandery and took up farming, inadvertently discovering a blade bearing the inscription Slices through jade, like so much logging that the scholar Cai Yong claimed was the blade of Qin dynasty warlord Xiang Yu.
After a very successful period of service in the imperial guard that included several promotions, Dong Zhuo was sent to snuff out the Yellow Turban Rebellion – but was ultimately defeated and demoted. The Liang Province Rebellion saw Dong Zhuo reinstated and sent to suppress the rebels, and while he failed to defeat them his unit was the only one to escape unscathed thanks to a cunning deception involving damming a nearby river.
Dong Zhuo was subsequently promoted to General of the Vanguard and Inspector of Bing Province, but refused to take up his new post as he didn't want to leave his forces back in Liang Province. With the power of the Han dynasty waning, he settled In Liang Province to build up his own, with Sun Jian's suggestion that Dong Zhuo's arrogance and insubordination was worthy of a death sentence going unheeded.
Following the death of Emperor Ling of the Han, He Jin ordered Dong Zhuo to lead troops into Luoyang in order to eliminate the Ten Attendants. However, the latter assassinated He Jin before Dong Zhuo arrived, with the capital falling into turmoil as a result.
Taking advantage of the ongoing chaos in the capital to offset his lack of popularity as a potential regent, Dong Zhuo took command of the He family's leaderless forces and soon established himself as a tyrant, ruling through fear and intimidation.
- Main article: Guanxi
Dong Zhuo relies on the handful of strong generals at his command but he also counts a number of important faction leaders as his rivals from the start, meaning that diplomacy with them will be difficult. Additionally, thanks to the events preceding the campaign, Dong Zhuo also starts with reduced diplomatic trustworthiness.
Lü Bu (his foster son, who Dong Zhuo convinced to kill his original foster father Ding Yuan) considers him a friend, but he has personal rivalries with Sun Jian (who has been actively fighting against him), Yuan Shao (who led the alliance against him), and Cao Cao (who Dong Zhuo has declared a prime enemy of the state).
- Dong Zhuo was featured in Stories from the THREE KINGDOMS, an official comic for Total War: Three Kingdoms.
|Total War THREE KINGDOMS factions and leaders|
|Warlords||Cao Wei (Cao Cao)・Dong Zhuo (Dong Zhuo)・Gongsun Zan (Gongsun Zan)・Shu-Han (Liu Bei)・Wu (Sun Jian)・Yuan Shao (Yuan Shao)・Yuan Shu (Yuan Shu)|
|Governors||Kong Rong (Kong Rong)・Liu Biao (Liu Biao)・Ma Teng (Ma Teng)|
|Outlaws||Black Mountain bandits (Zhang Yan)・Zheng Jiang (Zheng Jiang)|
|Other factions||Han Empire・Cai Mao・Gongsun Du・Han Fu・Han Sui・Huang Zu・Jia Long・Kong Zhou・Liu Dai・Liu Yan・Liu Yao・Liu Yu・Liu Zhang・Shi Xie・Tao Qian・Wang Lang・Wang Kuang・Ze Rong・Zhang Chao・Zhang Lu・Zhang Yang|