A World Betrayed: Sun Ce’s faction mechanics
Sun Ce’s Reckless Luck is probably the most crucial mechanic, bar none, in Total War: Three Kingdoms. It requires Sun Ce players to move aggressively in A World Betrayed‘s campaign, eliminating multiple factions in order to complete objectives. Should Reckless Luck run out, Sun Ce will meet an untimely demise.
Sun Ce starts with 250 Reckless Luck and it will drop by 10 points each turn. This gives you at least 25 turns to complete multiple tasks in order to offset this malus. Reckless Luck also provides you with increased campaign movement range and military supplies, as well as lower retinue upkeep. Lower thresholds will mean lower bonuses that can hamper your expansion.
Legacy of Wu ambitions
In order to increase your Reckless Luck, Sun Ce has to complete the Legacy of Wu ambitions. A helpful panel contains all of these tasks, many of which depict his acquisition of territory in the Southlands.
All tasks provide a flat amount of Reckless Luck (+5). Completing an entire set, however, increases your Reckless Luck gained per turn. Should you finally hit +10 Reckless Luck per turn (or higher), it ensures that Sun Ce would no longer suddenly die. Here are some examples:
- Secure the Mountains – capture Xindu capital, lumber yard, and fishing port; completing the full set gives a permanent +3 public order and +2 Reckless Luck per turn bonus.
- The Little Conqueror – deploy five generals, win five duels with Sun Ce, capture five settlements with Sun Ce’s army; completing the full set gives a permanent +25 prestige and +1 Reckless Luck per turn bonus.
- Governors & Scholars – have two rank 5 or higher strategists and two rank 5 or higher commanders; the full set gives you +2 administrator positions and +2 assignments.
Unique to Sun Ce in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed is the Shared Expertise mechanic. It allows you to level up your characters quickly by receiving free experience points. Each action costs 50 Shared Expertise and the value is regained by having officers above level 3.
Each level 3 officer adds +1 Shared Expertise point per turn. Those at levels 5, 8, and 10 provide additional points as well. Needless to say, the Shared Expertise mechanic will net you powerful officers in no time.
Experience-based Ministerial Positions
Your level-ups via the Shared Expertise mechanic also let you benefit from certain Ministerial Positions in Sun Ce’s court. He’s got an additional five court offices (ie. Director of Officers or Court Physician) that can be given to your generals, though several still require you to increase your faction’s rank.
Not only that, but all minister positions (ie. Chancellor, Director of Officers, and the like) confer extra bonuses if the assigned officer is at levels 3, 5, and 8. Here are the bonuses:
- Chancellor = additional assignments and reduced officer salaries
- Grand Commandant = additional armies and reduced recruitment cost
- Grand Tutor = additional trade agreements and trade influence
- Grand Excellency = additional food production and peasantry income
- Grand Architect = reduced construction costs and construction time
- Director of Officers = disciplined army trait and increased unit ranks on recruitment
- Director of Records = additional administrators
- Investigator of Transgressions = additional spies and cover gain
- Director of Finance = income from all sources and reduced corruption
- Court Physician = general’s health and ability cooldown
Note: Your heir, prime minister, and administrators won’t have the level-up perks applied, but the bonuses will still be based on officer traits.
These positions are somewhat changed once Sun Ce attains the rank of King and proclaims the Kingdom of Wu much later in the game. Given Total War: Three Kingdoms‘ imperial court system, you’ll obtain several new court positions:
- Grand Ministers with leveled bonuses – Tutor, Masses, Works, Commandant
- Grand Ministers without leveled bonuses – Heir, Chancellor
- Regular Ministers with leveled bonuses – Justice, Coachman, Finance, Guards, Imperial Household, Ceremonies
- Regular Ministers without leveled bonuses – Herald, Steward, Imperial Clan
- Administrators only have normal effects from officer traits
Here’s an example with a level 8 Zhou Yu as Grand Tutor, take note of the tooltip telling you about the “position effects” of having leveled officers:
Here’s an example of one court position that doesn’t have leveled benefits, that of Imperial Chancellor with a level 3 Lu Fan:
Sun Ce’s unique officers and units
Sun Ce still retains Sun Jian’s mercenary units. He’s also got the Tiger Guard (shielded spear infantry) and Handmaid Guard (cavalry units representing the bodyguards of Sun Ren/Sun Shang Xiang).
As for unique officers, you’ll encounter a lot of them throughout your Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed campaign. After all, historically, many of Sun Jian’s veteran officers, as well as talented individuals from the Southlands, joined his cause. Be reminded that officers need to be alive to join you.
There’s one major downside to this as mentioned in our official review. It’s that gaining too many officers too fast will drain your income. Given the Shared Expertise mechanic and the lack of ranks or offices to hand out, your generals will feel dissatisfied early on. A means of countering this is the “Legacy of Sun Ce” ambition which requires Sun Ce, Zhou Yu, Sun Quan, and Sun Ren to be at higher levels. Completing this objective permanently lowers officers’ desires to have a higher office. The problem is that you won’t get this until much later in the game (Sun Ren won’t come of age until turn 60 or so).
With that, let’s go ahead and talk about Sun Ce’s campaign events and opening moves.