Four new Nanman faction leaders join the fray as part of Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild. Meng Huo, Zhurong, Mulu, and Shamoke are all eager to unite the tribes before battling the Han. Here’s our Nanman faction guide to help you out.
Note: This guide is based on Romance Mode and VH/VH difficulty for the 190 CE start date. You can also check out our Meng Huo campaign guide as well as our Total War: Three Kingdoms guides and features hub.
Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild: Nanman faction guide
Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild does have several Nanman faction leaders with their own unique buffs, leader mechanics, and starting units, though they all have a lot in common especially when it comes to their start locations and general progression. Since they’re located at the southwestern section of the map, the rivals you face will tend to be similar all throughout. For instance, it’s usually Shi Xie (the FLC lord) who’ll be your first major challenge among the Han leaders. That’s usually followed by either Sun Ce or Liu Biao (or maybe even a misguided Liu Zhang).
The most glaring difference would be when you play as Shamoke since you’re a lot closer to the Han nobles. However, his progression (ie subjugating the other Nanman tribal leaders) will still be somewhat similar to the other three chieftains.
Victory conditions: Unifying the Nanman tribes
Meng Huo, Zhurong, Mulu, and Shamoke all have the same victory conditions:
- Occupy all 21 Nanman-type lands.
- After occupying all Nanman lands, you’ll need to conquer and hold 50 settlements in total.
- When that’s done, you’ll have to wait for 20 turns, keeping all your territories under your control the entire time.
Expansion and supplies
Nanman Lands are settlements held by the other Nanman chiefs at the start of your Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild campaign. You’ll notice an elephant icon on the settlement’s nameplate to denote this.
Since we’re talking about Nanman Lands, we might as well talk about traversing the terrain. As mentioned in our Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild review, there’s something very weird going on with exploring this region of the map. First off, on the bright side, you’ll notice that Nanman Lands act as a modifier to lower construction costs and construction time. This should help Meng Huo and the gang.
However, many of the settlements—especially the further you head to the southwest, or, in the case of Meng Huo and Zhurong, practically everywhere—will be surrounded by “dense jungle.” It should adversely affect all non-Nanman factions. However, it seems that it also affects our Nanman friends. Indeed, I’ve found myself lacking movement points and supplies to the point that the campaign became a slog very early on.
You could counteract this by stacking a lot of Cunning on your generals or maybe obtaining the Tireless Soul perk. But, that’s about it. Which does bring me to our next topic…
Leveling Nanman characters
A unique feature that Nanman faction leaders and characters have is that they don’t get skills automatically from the level-up panel. Instead, the skill points are used to increase the five main classes/stats—ie Sentinel/Expertise, Champion/Resolve, Strategist/Cunning, Vanguard/Instinct, and Commander/Authority.
Each skill point raises a chosen stat by 10. It’s even possible to branch out and have 100+ stats in three categories. Although, again, if you’re having problems with supplies, you might want to stack Strategist/Cunning boons.
The section below that shows the “Personal Goals.” These are tallies that Nanman characters can complete passively during your Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild playthrough. Some are easy enough to obtain:
- Marshal (win 15/30/45 battles with this character) – Increases morale; enables “Immune to Fear & Terror” and “Unbreakable” upon reaching the highest rank (45 victories).
- Butcher (kill 300/600/900 enemies in battle with this character) – +10%/20%/30% armor-piercing damage.
- Rolemodel (fight 10 battles alongside reinforcements with this character) – Enables “Encourage.”
- Tireless Soul (fight 10 siege battles with this character) – +15% campaign movement range.
That’s all well and good until you realize that each tally is exclusive to a character. If a general you want to level up isn’t participating often in siege battles (maybe they’re just ransacking the countryside), they won’t get that bonus campaign movement range. Other perks can sometimes be a nuisance to get:
- Warmonger (occupy 15 settlements with this character) – Enables “Terror” attribute; only works if the character is part of the army that captures and occupies the settlement.
- Cave Defender (win 10 defensive battles with this character) – Enables “Disciplined” for your retinue; you probably won’t fight in too many of these unless you’re overwhelmed.
Note: For Infantry Chief, Missile Chief, and Beast Tamer (boosts capabilities of different unit types), you’ll need to acquire a total number of level-ups for those unit types. For instance, if you want to speed up the acquisition of Missile Chief (+10% ammunition and -15% ranged unit upkeep), then you’ll want to have more ranged units in your retinue.
The Tribal Fealties panel shows the bonuses you’ll keep throughout your Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild playthrough. The requirement is to simply gain the fealty of a tribe either by confederation, vassalization, or outright destroying them.
The Tribal Fealty at the center is always held by your tribe (aka. your faction’s perks), but there are 18 others that you need to acquire. The larger fealties will usually have bonuses like an additional army to field, a tribal council/ministerial position (so you can quickly promote a subjugated ruler to prevent them from rebelling), increased research rate, and prestige. Every Tribal Fealty you acquire will also lead to a diplomatic relations penalty against the Han factions.
Some Tribal Fealties will also unlock new units or add extra ones to your recruitment pool. Here are some examples:
|Meng Huo||Fealty of the Man||Unlock: Nanzhong Champions and Nanzhong Spearmen;
Additional recruits: Nanzhong Elephants
|Lady Zhurong||Fealty of the Fire People||Unlock: Followers of the Flame;
Additional recruits: Tiger Warriors and Tiger Slingers
|Mulu||Loyalty of the Beasts||Unlock: Ravine Warriors;
Additional recruits: Southern Elephants; War Elephants
|Shamoke||Lord of the Five Valleys||Unlock: Might of the Valley, Wuling Fighters, and Wuling Slingers|
|Duosi||The Sage’s Fealty||Unlock: Hidden Vipers, Sanjiang Poison Darts, and Sanjiang Poison Spears|
|Wutugu||The Rattan Army||Unlock: Shields of the South, Valley Tribesmen, and Wuguo Axe Throwers|
|Yang Feng||Fealty of Yang Feng||Unlock: Javelin Spear Guards, Javelin Throwers, and Javelin Spearmen|
You can see Shamoke’s faction buffs/Tribal Fealty bonuses below:
For vassalization, I would advise against this. If Han factions even catch a whiff of your tribal vassal, there’s a good chance they’ll declare war on it and you’ll be dragged into a conflict that you might not be ready for. Likewise, if you need to annex a vassal later, that reputation hit will probably get the Han nobles itching to take you out.
Instead, just pick confederation. These options will be available once a Nanman tribe is down to their last settlement and you manage to capture it. This even works if the tribe still has an army in the field. If you focus solely on their last settlement and choose the confederate option, you’ll take control of their army immediately.
Confederated Nanman leaders will appear in your roster. Those that have been destroyed by other factions, meanwhile, might appear in your court menu as wanderers that you can hire.
Note 1: You also gain the fealties of Nanman tribes that have been confederated by others. For instance, if you defeat Shamoke after he’s conquered two other tribes, you get the fealty bonuses of all three (Shamoke’s plus the others he’s beaten already).
Note 2: If in case a non-Nanman faction is the one that destroyed a tribe, you can gain their fealty only if you control the last known settlement owned by that tribe. For example, if Sun Ce is the one that destroyed Shamoke’s faction (even if you’re at war with this Nanman chief), you’ll need to control, say, some random settlement in Wuling or Changsha that’s likely held by Sun Ce now. You could always trade for it if the Little Conqueror likes you enough (spoiler: he won’t).
Nanman faction technologies
Nanman faction technologies are also vastly different in Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild. If you take a look at the tech tree, it looks very unique and somewhat confusing at first.
Here’s the gist:
- Elephant Training is always the default pick. It gives you an elephant that can be assigned as a mount, making Nanman generals quite deadly in battle.
- Elephant Training will unlock three branches: Economic, Military, and Political.
- The Economic branch (left side) primarily has improvements for farms, peasantry income, and construction boons.
- The Military branch (center), meanwhile, has boosts for your units (ie mustering turns), barracks-type buildings, extra numbers of limited units that can be recruited (more on these later), and unit formations.
- The Political branch (right side), meanwhile, can give you additional trade agreements, cave lord (administrator) positions, and diplomatic deals (ie NAPs, alliances, mercenary contracts) with non-Nanman factions.
In any case, you’ll see Shamoke’s tech tree above. You’ve probably noticed a “tribal headdress” symbol on some of the nodes. This is because those techs are locked until you’re able to unite all the Nanman tribes. On a positive note, Shamoke can research Political branch techs a lot faster than his counterparts. Meanwhile, Zhurong and Mulu have faster research for the Military and Economic branches respectively, although other early-game techs will be locked.
Below, you’ll notice Meng Huo’s tech tree. He has broader access to the tech tree since only later techs are locked behind the “unite all Nanman tribes” requirement:
Next, take a look at the tiers/divisions:
- The first three tiers have five techs each.
- Two of those techs (with larger nodes) are mutually exclusive; you can only pick one.
- The other three techs aren’t exclusive at all and can be researched without locking you out of the other options. You’ll need to research at least one of these non-exclusive techs to pick either of the two that are exclusive (which will unlock the next tier for that branch).
Note: The fourth and final tier of each branch has two techs on either side that are mutually exclusive; the tech in the middle isn’t. However, for the mutually exclusive tier 4 techs, you’ll need to research 2/3 matching techs from the previous tiers (you’ll see these highlighted in white).
The tiers themselves will have “unknown missions” for you to complete, made available only once you have access to that tier. For instance, after researching Elephant Training, you’d get these missions which, upon completion, would allow you to research the techs for those branches:
- The Enemy’s Secrets (Military) – Defeat 3 armies or garrisons from the Nanman faction.
- Keep Your Enemies Closer (Political) – Know 10 factions; have a treaty (NAP, trade agreement, or military access).
- Prepare The Economy (Economic) – Construct a specific type of building (i.e., Iron Pits); it’s usually a special building that’s chosen, so it’s not from the main settlement.
Note: These unlock missions are different from the main requirement to “unite all the tribes” that locks the remaining techs. It’s possible to unite all the tribes later in your Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild campaign. But, you might still need to “construct X building” if it’s part of an unlock mission.
Nanman faction buildings and units
The Nanman faction has some very powerful unique building chains in Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild. Here are some examples:
- Sites of Worship (yellow) – increased prestige, population growth, and public order; lowers corruption.
- Artisanal Guilds (grey) – increased income from all sources; reduced construction costs; reduced corruption for adjacent provinces.
- Places of Festivity (blue) – increased population growth, character XP, public order, and commerce income.
- Military Infrastructure (red) – increased military supplies (adjacent commanderies), industry income, and reserves.
That last one, Military Infrastructure, as well as the other military building (Conscription line), nets you additional units for recruitment. These are special units that are limited in number, but they can be increased via these buildings or certain techs.
Examples include Southern Elephants, Nanzhong Elephants, and Tiger Slingers—they’re slingers who also have tigers; they’re not people who sling tigers at opponents, but that would be awesome. By the way, animal units are extremely useful in battle. You could watch elephants stomp on foes or tigers chomping other soldiers — it’s very hard for the AI to counter these units.
While we’re on the subject of units and elephants, remember that mount we got from the Elephant Training tech? There’s a beefed-up version of that called the Monarchial Elephant. Nanman faction leaders can obtain this once they encounter the “Trial of the Beasts” mission. This appears when you’re at war and the target is always the leader of that faction. Your main character must be the one to defeat the target to obtain the reward.
You can see an example below where Meng Huo’s target is Wutugu:
Your court, administrators, and assignments
Lastly, the court of Nanman faction leaders in The Furious Wild will follow the same core concepts that you’ve come to know in Total War: Three Kingdoms. You’ve got your faction leader and heir, as well as the advisor and seer positions once you’ve increased your prestige rank. The advisor and seer act as prime ministers so take note of character traits and ancillaries for bonuses.
For the Tribal Council, The Furious Wild isn’t Survivor, so no one gets voted off the island. Rather, these are your regular ministerial positions. These only increase trade influence while reducing corruption.
The Cave Lords, meanwhile, are your administrators. There seems to be an issue here as mentioned in our official review. When you select characters, it only shows that they reduce construction costs (this even applies to non-Nanman characters).
However, the bonuses do appear, but only after you’ve placed them in an administrator position. As such, you’ll want to look at a character’s traits first in case they might be disloyal, ambitious, or just plain terrible. Anyway, if they have bad traits, make them a member of the Tribal Council. If they have decent traits (ie income from commerce, industry, or peasantry), make them a Cave Lord.
As for your assignments, the Nanman faction leaders have most of these locked behind certain techs save for “Exploit Black Market” (+50% trade influence). Later, I would suggest taking Bureaucratic Reform, a tier 2 Political tech. It unlocks the “Visiting Tribal Leaders” assignment which boosts public order and curbs corruption.
You should also try to employ any Han officers that you find. Their traits and skills will still apply to administrator positions as well as assignments.
Generally, you should be focusing on conquering the other Nanman tribes to obtain their fealty bonuses. When you’re done, you concentrate on shoring up your defenses while bolstering your settlement upgrades. The officers you obtain throughout your Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild campaign will be helpful, sure, especially since confederation is almost a given. Unfortunately, they can completely drain your income (character salaries) or they’ll have low satisfaction and you’ll suffer a few penalties.
As for playing politics with the Han, Nanman lords cannot propose any diplomatic deals with non-Nanman factions besides gold or food-per-turn. As such, the Political Branch of the tech tree tends to become somewhat useful. If you can keep your reputation high enough throughout the campaign in Total War: Three Kingdoms – The Furious Wild, you could find yourself buddying up with various Han nobles (maybe even getting hired as a mercenary like Yan Baihu and the other bandits). This is especially true if you’re warring with a noble’s enemy — although, more often than not, the “faction influence” malus due to having a different culture will set you back severely.
Your obvious rivals among the Han would be:
- Shi Xie – A lot earlier for Mulu, but not so much for the others.
- Liu Biao and Sun Ce – A lot earlier for Shamoke, but not so much for the others.
- All four will probably earn the ire of either Yuan Shao or Cao Cao (maybe even both) because those two like to beeline towards Nanman lands for no reason. Next thing you know, you’re up against a coalition or military alliance.
The “Nanman Lands” and “Dense Jungle” terrain modifiers should cripple non-Nanman armies. Though, again, I’ve encountered supply and movement range issues with that even for the Nanman generals. In the end, though, you’ll simply want to expand in one direction (until you control 50 settlements). Consolidate your forces and prepare because you’ll likely experience the Han onslaught while you’re waiting for 20 turns to elapse.