Portal Three Kingdoms/Storyline

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The storyline of Portal Three Kingdoms is set in the turbulent years in China towards the end of the Han dynasty and during the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history, starting in 184 AD and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

Summary[edit | edit source]

“  The Empire long divided must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been  ”

So begins China's epic drama Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel.[1] Written in the 15th Century and attributed to Luo Guanzhong, Three Kingdoms illuminates a pivotal 200-year stretch of Chinese history.

This tumultuous, gripping tale begins in 184 A.D., near the end of the Han Dynasty.[2] The Empire, threatened by corruption, regional warlords, and the Yellow Scarves revolt, was beginning to splinter into three rival kingdoms. To the north lay the Wei kingdom, led by the cunning, ruthless, and ingenious Cao Cao. As regent, he ruled by "protecting" the child Emperor and keeping him subservient to his demands. To the south lay the Wu kingdom, led by the wise Sun Quan. He fostered many talented advisors and generals, including the brilliant Zhou Yu. To the west lay the Shu kingdom, ruled by the noble and virtuous Liu Bei, a distant relative of the Emperor. Liu Bei was advised by a Taoist sage and master strategist, Kongming, who could predict an enemy's actions years in advance. Liu Bei's strength was also bolstered by his two oath-brothers, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. Zhang Fei was the fiercest warrior in all of China, and Guan Yu is worshiped to this day as one of the true heroes of the realm.

Countless soldiers fought during this turbulent period of dynastic change. Over 800,000 died at the pivotal battle of Red Cliffs alone.

The real events and famous people of the Three Kingdoms period have fascinated millions for centuries and have formed the basis of countless plays, operas, and folk tales throughout Asia. The story also illuminates the nature of power, the importance of diplomacy, and the intricacies of war. To understand the Three Kingdoms story is to begin to understand China.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 184: The Yellow Scarves Rebellion starts, a peasant revolt against Emperor Ling of the Eastern Han dynasty.[3]
    • The Peach Garden Oath sworn by Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fe to fight the yellow Scarves.
  • 189: Dong Zhou seizes power and places the eight year old Xian of Han on the throne.[4]
    • Cao Cao attempts to assassinate Dong Zhou with a jeweled knife.
  • 192: Lu Bu kills Dong Zhou. [5]
  • 195: Cao Cao assumes "protection" of emperor Xian.[6]
  • 198 / 199 Battle of Xiapi fought between the forces of Lü Bu against the allied armies of Cao Cao and Liu Bei.
    • Lü Bu surrenders.
  • 200: Cao Cao captures Guan Yu.
    • Sun Quan succeeds Sun Ce.
    • Cao Cao defeats Yuan Shao.
  • 202: Battle of Xinye: Liu Bei defeats Cao Cao.
  • 207: Liu Bei meets Kongming.
  • 208: Battle of Red Cliffs, Cao Cao is defeated by Sun Quan and Liu Bei.
  • 209: Liu Bei occupies Jingzhou.
  • 210: Zhou Yu dies.
  • 214: Liu Bei takes control of the Riverlands.
  • 215: Cao Cao captures Hanzhong.
  • 217: Cao Cao defeats Sun Quan at Hefei.
  • 219: Battle of Fancheng. Liu Bei's general Guan Yu attacks north.
    • Sun Quan takes Jingzhou.
  • 220: Guan Yu is executed by Sun Quan.
  • 221: Liu Bei proclaims himself emperor and establishes the Shu kingdom.
    • Zhang Fei is assassinated.
  • 222: Lu Xun of Wu defeats Liu Bei at the Battle of Xiaoting. Wu declares formal independence.
  • 223: Liu Bei dies.
  • 225: Kongming defeats the southern barbarian Meng Huo.
  • 228: Battle of Jieting. A decisive victory for Wei against the Shu.
  • 234: Kongming dies.
  • 249: Sima Yi takes control of Wei.
  • 251: Sima Yi dies.
  • 252: Sun Quan dies.
  • 263: Deng Ai and Zhong Hui attack Shu. Shu surrenders to Wei.
  • 280: Wu surrenders to Wei.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Name Alliance Color Role Represented in: Quoted or referenced in:
Zhang Jue {R} Leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. Yellow Scarves General , Yellow Scarves Troops
Dong Zhuo[7] {R} Cruel and tyrannic warlord. Took power of the Han Dynasty. Dong Zhou, the Tyrant Lu Bu, Master-at-Arms, Ravaging Horde
Lu Bu {R} A nearly invincible warrior with shifting allegiances. He owned the famous horse Red Hare. Lu Bu, Master-at-Arms Riding Red Hare, Wei Ambush Force
Diaochan {R} One of the Four Beauties of ancient China. Lover of Lü Bu and causes him to betray and kill his foster father, Dong Zhuo. Diaochan, Artful Beauty
Yuan Shao {R} Rogue warlord. Enemy of Dong Zhuo and rival of Cao Cao. Yuan Shao, the Indecisive Desert Sandstorm, Relentless Assault, Stolen Grain, Yuan Shao's Infantry
Liu Bei Shu {W} Noble and virtuous warlord, founder of the Shu kingdom. Liu Bei, Lord of Shu Alert Shu Infantry, Flanking Troops, Lady Sun, Peach Garden Oath, Riding the Dilu Horse, Shu Cavalry, Shu Foot Soldiers, Vengeance, Zhao Zilong, Tiger General, Zodiac Goat, Zodiac Snake
Kongming Shu {W} Advisor to Liu Bei. Taoist sage and master strategist. Kongming, "Sleeping Dragon" Alert Shu Infantry, Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, Brilliant Plan, Empty City Ruse, Fire Ambush, Kongming's Contraptions, Meng Huo, Barbarian King, Shu Elite Infantry, Shu Foot Soldiers, Shu Soldier-Farmers, Zhou Yu, Chief Commander, Zodiac Goat, Zodiac Monkey, Zodiac Rooster, Zodiac Snake
Guan Yu Shu {W} Oath-brother of Liu Bei. One of his five Tiger Generals. Guan Yu, Sainted Warrior Guan Yu's 1,000-Li March, Peach Garden Oath, Poison Arrow, Vengeance, Wielding the Green Dragon, Zhuge Jin, Wu Strategist
Zhang Fei Shu {W} Oath-brother of Liu Bei. One of his five Tiger Generals. Zhang Fei, Fierce Warrior Peach Garden Oath, Shu Defender
Huang Zhong Shu {W} One of Liu Bei's five Tiger Generals. An elderly man. Huang Zhong, Shu General
Ma Chao Shu {R} A cruel warlord who became one of Liu Bei's five Tiger Generals. Ma Chao, Western Warrior Shu Cavalry, Wei Strike Force
Zhao Zilong Shu {W} A powerful warrior. One of Liu Bei's five Tiger Generals. Zhao Zilong, Tiger General
Pang Tong Shu {W} Advisor to Liu Bei. Mistakenly killed when he was riding the Emperor's horse, Dilu. Pang Tong, "Young Phoenix" Riding the Dilu Horse
Ma Su Shu {W} Arrogant general, who foolishly lost the city of Jieting to the Wei. Shu Elite Infantry
Yan Yan Shu {W} A defeated Riverlands general, who made an alliance with Zhang Fei. Zhang Fei, Fierce Warrior
Jiang Wei Shu {W} A prominent general, and protegé of Kongming. Famous for his Northern Expeditions. Zodiac Dog
Liu Shan Shu {W} Eldest son of Liu Bei. Second and last ruler of the Shu kingdom, reigning for 40 years. Later became Duke Anle. Zhao Zilong, Tiger General, Zodiac Goat, Zodiac Tiger
Lady Sun Shu / Wu {U} Sister to Sun Quan and wife to Liu Bei. Divided loyalty. Lady Sun
Sun Ce Wu {U} Elder brother of Sun Quan. Assassinated while planning an attack on Cao cao. Sun Ce, Young Conquerer False Mourning, Poison Arrow
Zhou Yu Wu {U} Chief commander of the Wu against the Wei of Cao Cao. He died young. Zhou Yu, Chief Commander Blaze, Brilliant Plan, Counterintelligence, Deception, False Mourning, Lu Su, Wu Advisor, Pang Tong, "Young Phoenix", Poison Arrow, Wu Light Cavalry
Lu Su Wu {U} Served as an intermediary between the Wu and Shu kingdoms until Zhou Yu’s death in 210, when he became Wu’s supreme commander. Zhuge Jin, Wu Strategist
Zhuge Jin Wu {U} Served as an intermediary between the Wu and Shu kingdoms in 215. Lu Su, Wu Advisor Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, Burning Fields
Lu Xun Wu {U} General and statesman. Field commander of the Wu army in the Battle of Xiaoting. Lu Xun, Scholar General
Lu Meng Wu {U} Chief commander of the Wu against the Shu army of Guan Yu. Lu Meng, Wu General
Gan Ning Wu {U} Brave general who raided Cao Cao’s camp of 400,000 men with only 100 cavalry in the second battle of Ruxu. Not a single man or horse was lost. Wu Elite Cavalry
Sun Hao Wu {U} Fourth and last emperor of Wu. Became marquess of Guiming after his surrender. Zodiac Tiger
Cao Cao Wei {B} Penultimate Chancellor of the Eastern Han and founder of what was to become the state of Cao Wei and ultimately the Jin dynasty. Cruel and merciless warlord, but also a military genius. Cao Cao, Lord of Wei Ambition's Coast, Blaze, Cao Ren, Wei Commander, Coercion, Deception, Desert Sandstorm, Exhaustion, Fire Ambush, Ghostly Visit, Imperial Edict, Overwhelming Forces, Relentless Assault, Return to Battle, Shu Defender, Stolen Grain, Wei Ambush Force, Wei Elite Companions, Wei Strike Force, Wu Elite Cavalry, Xun Yu, Wei Advisor
Cao Ren Wei {B} Cao Cao’s cousin, and his greatest general. A cunning strategist, but also Known throughout the three kingdoms as the fiercest of warriors. Cao Ren, Wei Commander Alert Shu Infantry, Wu Light Cavalry
Xiahou Dun Wei {B} A trusted general of Cao Cao, who lost an eye during the Battle of Xiapi Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed Return to Battle
Zhang He Wei {B} General of Cao Cao. A resourceful and proficient military leader. Zhang He, Wei General
Zhang Liao Wei {B} Loyal and righteous general of Cao Cao. Zhang Liao, Hero of Hefei Wei Infantry
Xun Yu Wei {B} Advisor to Cao Cao. A splendid talent, admired of all men. Xun Yu, Wei Advisor
Deng Ai Wei {B} A very loyal general of Cao Cao. Noted for his arrogance and audacity, which led to his downfall and death. Zodiac Pig
Zhong Hui Wei {B} General who betrayed Deng Ai, and rebelled against the Wei. Zodiac Pig
Xian of Han Wei {B} Last emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty in China. Under control of Cao Cao. Imperial Edict
Cao Pi Wei {B} Son of Cao Cao. First emperor of Wei. Zodiac Rat
Cao Rui Wei {B} Second emperor of Wei. Zodiac Rat
Cao Fang Wei {B} Adopted son of Cao Rui. Third emperor of Wei. Zodiac Rat
Cao Mao Wei {B} Grandson of Cao Pi. Fourth emperor of Wei. Zodiac Rat
Cao Huan Wei {B} Grandson of Cao Cao. Fifth and last emperor of Wei. Later became Prince of Chenliu. Zodiac Rat, Zodiac Tiger
Sima Yi Wei {B} Ingenious general, government official, and regent of the state. He fought for four generations of the Cao family before his own grandson became emperor and united the three kingdoms. Sima Yi, Wei Field Marshal
Sima Yan Wei {B} Grandson of Sima Yi. First emperor of the Jin dynasty. Zodiac Rat
Hua Tuo {G} Famous Physician. Healed general Guan Yu, who was hit by a poisoned arrow in the eye. Arrested and imprisoned by Cao Cao for proposing to operate on his brain tumor by opening the skull. Hua Tuo, Honored Physician
Meng Huo {G} A southern barbarian tribal leader. Meng Huo, Barbarian King Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen, Meng Huo's Horde
Lady Zhurong {G} Warrior, who claims descent from the Chinese fire deity Zhurong. Wife of Meng Huo. Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen Meng Huo, Barbarian King
King Mulu {G} An ally of Meng Huo. He possessed magical powers and could change the weather and control wild beasts and direct them into battle. Trained Cheetah
Zuo Ci {G} Taoist mystic, who tried to convert Cao Cao. Zuo Ci, the Mocking Sage Taoist Mystic

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "The Portal Three Kingdoms Storybook". Wizards.com.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "The Portal Three Kingdoms Story Summary". Wizards.com.
  3. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "The Yellow Scarves Rebellion and the Peach Garden Oath". Wizards.com.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "Dong Zhou Seizes Power". Wizards.com.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "The Alliance against Dong Zhou". Wizards.com.
  6. Wizards of the Coast (May, 1999). "Cao Cao Consolidates Power in the North". Wizards.com.
  7. On the cards spelled both as Dong Zhuo and as Dong Zhou