The start of Sun Ce’s campaign in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed can be very hectic. You need to watch out for multiple faction mechanics such as your Reckless Luck status and Legacy of Wu objectives. You’ll also have to strike a balance with regards to your income, officer acquisitions, and rank-ups that can lead to dissatisfaction. Oh, and you have to beware of Yuan Shu since multiple events and dilemmas will involve his vassalage of Sun Ce.
Note: This guide was completed while playing Romance Mode on VH/VH difficulty. For more information, check out our Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed guides and features hub.
A World Betrayed: Sun Ce’s opening moves
Sun Ce is quite a mama’s boy. That’s because the only officer in your court is Lady Wu. We’ll get a lot of new characters in a few turns, so get set for that — and your income going down the drain.
- New officers: Capture Lujiang capital and you’ll gain Cheng Pu, Han Dang, and Huang Gai. They’re at level 3 already which means you’d get some extra Shared Expertise points.
- You’ll have the Chancellor and Grand Commandant offices available. Invoke your council to gain extra missions for buffs.
- Don’t bother with assignments just yet.
- Propose a trade agreement with Yuan Shu and milk him for some gold or gold per turn (GPT). You can also support Yuan Shu’s legitimacy and get some extra gold.
- Change your heir to Lady Wu given that Sun Quan won’t come of age until many turns have passed.
- Deploy Lady Wu’s retinue with Sun Ce’s.
- Replace some of Sun Ce’s expensive units with cheaper ones for now.
- Dilemma: On your next turn, Yuan Shu requests the Imperial Seal. You’ll gain the “Yuan Shu supplies” buff (-2 mustering turns, -20% recruitment cost). This buff’s duration can be lengthened via certain missions or dilemmas; it’s extremely helpful to have since it instantly gives you full retinues in one turn. If you do reject Yuan Shu’s proposal, war will be declared and, like Illidan Stormrage, you are not prepared for that.
- New officer: Move your army to Yangzhou toolmaker close to the river. This will spawn Zhou Yu and his army. The best buddies of Wu are now together.
- Switch to march stance and have Sun Ce sailing on the river so he can easily reach Xindu fishing port on your next turn.
- Dilemma: Yuan Shu requests control of Lujiang capital which is why we didn’t want to have assignments just yet. Again, this will add more turns to the supplies buff and rejecting will lead to war.
- New officer: Move your armies to Xindu fishing port and capture it. You’ll get a bit of Reckless Luck since this is a Legacy of Wu objective, but you need to control all of Xindu commandery (the full set) for the Reckless Luck per turn bonus. Grabbing this settlement also lets Lu Fan automatically join you. Give him “Reward the Filial & Incorrupt” once he levels up so you can have an assignment to increase officer loyalty.
- New officers: The next missions will also pop up, each one requiring you to capture specific settlements to obtain additional Wu officers — Poyang capital (Taishi Ci), Jianye capital (Zhang Zhao and Zhang Hong), and Xindu capital (Lu Meng). We’ll tackle these one by one, don’t worry.
- Add some extra cheap units if you want. Don’t bother upgrading buildings yet.
- Yuan Shu may be at war with other lords such as He Yi, Lu Bu, and/or Liu Chong. Use these conflicts to your advantage as a vassal. Request to join his wars and, given the diplomatic bonus, milk your “Yuan Shu-gar daddy” for extra gold.
- Your first tech choice should either be “Foreign Envoys” (+1 trade agreement) or “Handbook of Excellence” (lower character salary). If you choose the former, Kong Rong and Shi Xie are ideal picks for trade partners.
- New officers: Capture Poyang copper mine to get Zhou Tai and Jiang Qin.
Bug 1: There seems to be an odd outcome here where Poyang copper mine ends up in the control of Yan Baihu. You can’t go to war with him unless you ask Yuan Shu for permission, and going to war with Yan Baihu now is also suicidal. If this happens, just reload an earlier save or restart your Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed campaign.
Bug 2: It seems the above also prevents Zhou Tai and Jiang Qin from joining since the settlement still needs to be controlled by Liu Yao.
Turn 5 to 8:
- You’ll get an event pop-up regarding the chaos in the northwest involving the Han Emperor and the rebels Li Jue and Guo Si. After that, you’re told that another warlord, Li Xian (Dong Zhuo separatist forces), has control of him. You’re too far removed from the action to even care.
- Detach Lady Wu’s retinue and head back to Xindu fishing port. Add Cheng Pu’s and/or Lu Fan’s retinues since they’re cheap.
- You’ll likely get attacked by Xue Li’s squad from Jianye capital and that’s fine since you can hold him off. Counter-attack and take Jianye when the opportunity presents itself.
- Also, consider upgrading Xindu fishing port to improve its garrison forces.
- New officer: Sun Ce and Zhou Yu should be able to mop up Liu Yao’s remaining settlements within the next few turns. Remember that Poyang’s capital nets you Taishi Ci.
- Once you do own a commandery’s capital, it’s time to give assignments to your officers. Should they be a little disloyal, get an officer to use the “Reward the Filial & Incorrupt” assignment if they have it.
Turn 9 to 11:
- There’s a good chance that Yan Baihu has declared war on you. Take Sun Ce’s army back to Poyang and plan to eliminate his main force.
- New officers: Your second army (Lady Wu/Cheng Pu) should be close to Jianye’s capital by now. You’ll get Zhang Zhao and Zhang Hong.
Turn 12: Major event – Emperor Yuan Shu
The biggest event in Sun Ce’s Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed campaign is none other than silly ol’ Yuan Shu declaring himself emperor. Historically, this did not sit well with the other Han warlords. They all craved power, but they weren’t so emboldened just yet. Sun Ce would actually rebel against Yuan Shu due to the latter’s decision as well.
You can choose to remain loyal, but this will lead to a lot of dissatisfied generals. You’ve already got that problem given that you’re lacking gold and you’ve got so many officers with nothing else to do. Following the story leads to war, but this also gives you additional Reckless Luck for a few turns. You’ll also get the “Price of Ambition” quest where you need to defeat a couple of Yuan Shu’s armies and garrisons, providing you with gold and some campaign buffs.
Xindu fishing port will become the main battleground early on, so try to defend it for as long as possible. Once Yuan Shu’s weakened, go ahead and advance northwards. Do beware of Cao Cao’s machinations once you’re close to his territories.
Yuan Shu isn’t your only target, however, since you still need to eliminate rivals such as Yan Baihu. New officer: As you continue to push onwards into Yan Baihu’s territories, you’ll gain control of Xindu capital which will lead to Lu Meng joining you.
Aside from these, you’ll also want additional armies that can capture multiple settlements to the south. There are those held by the Han Empire, the Yellow Turban Rebellion, or other minor lords. Naturally, there are deserted territories that can be colonized. Some of these are required for your Legacy of Wu objectives and others will help boost your faction’s development.
Sun Ce’s additional events and Legacy of Wu objectives
- Turn 23: The Two Qiaos – Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao will join your faction. They’re not automatically married to Sun Ce and Zhou Yu, though, so you’ll probably need to spend some gold.
- Variable/new officer: After you capture Jianye capital, you’ll be given another mission to destroy Wang Lang’s faction. Once you take Kuaiji’s capital, you’ll get Yu Fan. Please remember that this can lead to a bug if you capture Kuaiji before Jianye since the latter triggers the mission itself.
- Variable: There’s a mission that pops up where you need to defeat Huang Zu’s faction. This rewards you with 5,000 gold.
- Turn 32: Sun Quan comes of age. Before this happens, try to give Lady Wu a court position, title, or items so that changing your heir back to Sun Quan doesn’t lead to her leaving your faction.
- Turn 39: Jia Xu will join the faction with the highest prestige, and it’ll likely be Sun Ce’s if you play your cards right. This event applies to all factions.
- Turn 60: Sun Ren/Sun Shang Xiang comes of age.
With regards to your Legacy of Wu ambitions, you’ll likely have obtained many of these already throughout your Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed campaign. Those such as the capture of Xindu, Poyang, Jianye, Changsha, and the like would lead to several buffs. You should have +10 Reckless Luck per turn (or higher), allowing you to offset the value’s decline and keep Sun Ce alive to old age. There are also some Legacy of Wu ambitions that require certain officers (or officer types) to get leveled up, so use the Shared Expertise mechanic to your advantage.
The Kingdom of Wu
With Yuan Shu’s faction in tatters and with dozens of commanderies under Sun Ce’s control, you can now call yourself the Little Conqueror of the Southlands. Once your prestige has increased sufficiently, Sun Ce proclaims the Kingdom of Wu allowing you to use the imperial court system. As mentioned earlier, some of these positions will have level-based bonuses.
Mix and match accordingly and continue your expansion. Sun Ce has already realized his father’s dream. Now, it’s time to achieve his own.