It's November 20th, 200 A.D., and Lu Meng has finally run out of college tuition money.
But look at that Intelligence score! From 42 to 68; not too shabby, in my opinion. It's not quite up to our target of 70, but we've barely even begun to earn Tactics XP yet, so there's no real rush to get there.
It's been a long road to hoe, but we were just the Joe to hoe it. Let's see how the world looks nowadays, after our long sequester.
In the Central Plains, Cao Cao and Yuan Shu are still gearing up for an inevitable war. Liu Bei is still hanging out in Ru Nan, and Lu Bu is still sleeping on Liu Bei's bed and pissing in his sink and leaving his dirty underwear draped over Liu Bei's favorite sculptures.
Actually, it doesn't look like anything's changed at all. Kinda weird.
In the southeast, Sun Ce (who is still alive, somehow) has expanded his territory a bit, and he's probably going to be coming into conflict with Liu Biao pretty soon. Biao's an annoying bugger in the early game; he's not an important character, and he doesn't really have any great officers under his command, but he's got some prime real estate that provides him with enough money and manpower to make him tough to knock out.
And our Act I antagonist, Yuan Shu, is still just sitting there with his measly two cities. I wonder if the game's scripting broke? Sometimes, a particular officer moving to the wrong place or switching sides too early can cause the scripted events to stop happening. This might actually be a good thing, because a lack of scripted events means Cao Cao won't get to automatically double his territory again when he goes to war with Yuan Shao.
Or, maybe the fact that we haven't set foot off of campus for four years meant that none of the events could trigger, because Lu Meng is the center of the universe.
Hell, this is going to be another text-heavy update, isn't it?
Meng took a couple PoliSci classes.
"... gained the trust of the people. His ascension was widely criticized, and the people quickly labelled him a pretender to the throne. The Kingdom of Cheng had quickly become a target for neighboring powers."
Yeah, this isn't going to end well for Emperor Dumbass. (Who, despite naming himself Emperor, only rules a kingdom. A kingdom of two cities.)
Anyway, now that we're college graduates (sort of), it's time we got ourselves a proper career. Off we go to meet Sun Ce!
That was sudden.
This was Meng's actual response. He gives zero fucks about your silly-hatted Musketeer man.
Anyway, we head to the castle and ask for a job.
Little will they suspect that beneath his humble exterior lies the secret identity of... Captain Average!
"... an uncle to the Emperor by blood, much to the joy of his majesty."
oh god damn it more backlogged scripted events
"Of course, by 'tragic' I mean 'hilarious.'"
So, there go both of the story's early villains. Lu Bu got his head chopped off, Yuan Shu got trampled by his own horse or something. In both cases, Cao Cao ended up benefiting from the conflict; in one, he got one of the most badass warriors of the era (even if his hat is goofy as hell), and in the other, he got a shiny MacGuffin.
It's actually pretty cool getting to see Cao's rise from small-time but ambitious schemer to the most powerful warlord in China. Assuming the scripts don't break, we'll see him rise even higher... at least until the Battle of Chi Bi, which we will very likely be getting to participate in and influence the outcome of.
oh come on
Liu Bei is often presented as the "good guy" of the trio of Three Kingdoms rulers. Cao Cao's easy to see as a villain given his quick rise to power, Sun Quan was more concerned with defending his territory than abstract concepts of justice and honor, but Liu Bei is usually shown as this high-minded hero of the people, fighting against overwhelming odds to found a nation based on goodness and light and cupcakes and free hugs.
Really, though, based entirely on his actions throughout the story, Liu Bei comes off more as an extremely lucky, extremely passive-aggressive twit. He literally betrays more people than Lu Bu did, and I'm pretty sure he's got a higher body count to boot.
Anyway, let's escape the torrent of scripted events for a bit and do some actual work for our new boss.
First thing's first: our bestest buddy Lu Su is still independent, so we're going to ask if we can go hire him.
So I patrol or something for a week, and this time, he asks me to go hire Su. It was the end of the quarter, I guess; maybe he was concerned about payroll.
god damn it
Not only is Liu Bei a backstabbing little twerp, he's dumb enough to sign his name to the "Death to Cao Cao Club" charter and then leave it in the assassin's possession.
Anyway, we have a job to do.
We arrive at Ru Nan (previously occupied by that idiot Liu Bei). Since our mission is to find a specific person, the little "people" icon on the Blacksmith is red, showing exactly where Su is hanging out.
Promise I won't disband our army and then go hide in a classroom for four years this time, buddy.
"... fallen. Guan Yu and most other officers are nowhere to be found. Only Liu Bei himself managed to reach Yuan Shao's Army."
This event is usually the first one you'll see if you start a game in 200 AD. That means we're finally catching up! Of course, it also means that we're not far away from Cao Cao becoming an unstoppable juggernaut in the north.
It's actually possible to thwart Cao Cao and keep Yuan Shao in power if you play as one of Shao's subordinates. The war between the two northern powers is determined through a Campaign; if you manage to lead Yuan Shao to victory, Cao Cao's left with only Chang Sha in the west and the game's scripted events are pretty much dead.
Campaigns, by the way, are a feature unique to ROTK X that I'll discuss later. They're kind of a cool idea, kind of a time saver, and kind of immeasurably frustrating.
work work work
That's... great? Good for them, I mean. Really.
Oh, this is a scripted event that I have to attend, isn't it? Man, company birthday parties are forced and awkward enough, I can only imagine how bad a company wedding would be.
I just can't help reading this in the creepiest voice possible. Xiao Qiao is usually presented in the Dynasty Warriors games as being maybe, maybe 15. I know that that was way past marriageable age in this time period, but Zhou Yu just looks so pumped about it, and... ew.
That's... what does that even mean? What kind of support are we providing, here? Emotional? Financial?
Anyway, nothing all that exciting happens for awhile. Sun Ce has based himself in Jian Ye, easily the crappiest city he owns, and he has a very annoying habit of sending officers out to develop other cities instead of just transferring them there permanently. We spend a lot of time walking back and forth.
And then, this happens.
It's... it's Lu Xun!
(I'll stop with that joke now.)
Lu Xun is one of Wu (the kingdom)'s most famous officers. He took over as the primary strategist after the deaths of Lu Su and Lu Meng. In the Warriors games, he's usually presented as a fairly young kid; in truth, he served Wu well into his old age.
He's also my contingency plan for Lu Meng's death.
Unfortunately, he's not willing to join us just yet. It's going to take some time to make him our second-bestest-buddy, and then some more to convince Sun Ce that the amazing young strategist with the ridiculously good stats would be an asset to our army.
Next time, we'll work on that. Also, the war in the north might just heat up (and then abruptly resolve), and maybe, just maybe, I'll get to show you what battles are like. Stay tuned!