ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS III (SNES) FAQ V 1.0, November 6 2001 By Korasoff (firstname.lastname@example.org) ************************ FAQ history: 1.0, 11/06/01: FAQ created! The sections are Introduction, Main Screen Commands, Rulers, Officers, City, War, Items, General Tips, Links and Wanted!!!. 1.1, 03/02/03: Finally updated the FAQ! Added a Credits section. Added a paragraph to the Introduction. Minor changes to the Items section. Added one new link. Spelling changes here and there. This should be all... The only other change I'm thinking of is adding a War Screen Commands section to decrease the War section's size, but I'm far too lazy for that. ************************ Sections: 1) Introduction 2) Main Screen Commands 3) Rulers 4) Officers 5) City 6) War 7) Items 8) General Tips 9) Links 10) Wanted!!! 11) Credits ************************ 1) Introduction Romance of Three Kingdoms III: Dragon of Destiny (RTK3) is one of my favorite games, even if it was released back in 1993. The graphics are colorful (unlike RTK4) and the gameplay is not too simple, not too complicated. The battle system is arguably better than its successors, although it possesses its own flaws. The goal of RTK3 is to conquer all the 47 cities of China. The action is set during the Three Kingdoms period, which, strictly speaking, began in 220. However, the troubles of the Han dynasty and its fall begun much earlier, arguably even in the 150's. RTK3 picks up right after the rebellion of the Yellow Scarves, a revolt of utopian peasants, as a greedy warlord from the west, Dong Zhuo, comes with his army and seizes the capital of Luoyang "for the good of the dynasty." Pretty soon, Dong Zhuo proves himself a tyrant and a miscreant: but his advisor and son-in-law Li Ru is among the cleverest. Dong Zhuo even recruits Lu Bu, the greatest warrior of his time, with the gift of Red Hare (Chi Tu Ma). There is a saying: "Among horses, Red Hare; among men, Lu Bu." However, the other local warlords cannot suffer Dong Zhuo and his plot to replace the rightful Son of Heaven by his brother. As such, Cao Cao decides to form a great alliance, led by Yuan Shao of Nanpi, and they lay siege to Luoyang. From then on, troubles arise inside the alliance, relationships of friendship and enmity are created, and a great story is woven as the alliance crumbles and as every warlord attempts to grab as much territory as he can control. Three dragons arose, and Three Kingdoms were carved. One can play two different modes in RTK3. Historical mode takes into account what actually happened during the Three Kingdoms, so that officers always appear in certain cities, some rulers hate others, etc. Fictional mode, on the other hand, makes everything random. You can even have officers you created enter the game! If you feel inclined to, create your own ruler and try to rewrite history! This guide was written for the Super Nintendo version of the game. There's a Genesis version of it, and a GBA one too (I think...). While general principles may still apply to those other versions, don't ask me about particulars because I've only played the SNES version. ************************ 2) Main Screen Commands Control Pad: Change selected command. L or R: Hide Main Screen to show the map. Press twice to reveal city and battlefield number. A: Confirm. B: Cancel, End selection of multiple officers. Y: Nothing. X: Nothing. Start: Nothing. Select: Options. a) Military -Move: moves officers, Gold, Food, and Weapons from one city to an adjacent one. No chance of the supplies being stolen. Note that if there is a battlefield controlled by an enemy ruler between two cities, or a neutral battlefield linked to two of your cities and to one city of another ruler, you cannot move officers between them. You sometimes also have a choice of roads. -Send: sends Gold, Food, and Weapons from one city to another. There is a chance that some supplies may be stolen by bandits. As such, assign two officers with high overall abilities to escort. Distance is also a factor. -Rally: increase the Morale of selected troops. The Morale gained is equal to the first digit of the soldiers' Morale when the command is issued, e.g. if you ask troops with a rating of 70 to Rally, next month their Morale will be 77. You cannot raise the Morale of a unit already at 100 or above. Military officers can extend this command to 6 months. -War: attack a neighboring city or battlefield. Select troops, weapons, ships, Gold and Food to bring along. In addition, you have to choose a commander-in-chief. Your Advisor will attempt to predict the outcome. If the ruler or the city's Governor goes to War, he immediately becomes the CIC. The War command is also used to send reinforcements to a city where you are participating in an extended battle. -Draft: recruit inexperienced soldiers. Costs 10 Gold and 100 Food for 100 men. Popular support decreases. War decides how many men you can recruit. -Hire: recruit experienced soldiers. Costs 40 Gold and 200 Food for 100 men. Popular support decreases. Charm decides how many men you can recruit. -Train: drill your troops. Their Training rating increases, depending on the number of soldiers, commanders assigned, and their War rating. Military officers can extend this to 6 months. -Assign: pair troops with commanders. -Ship: build Light, Heavy, or Armored galleys. Only available to some cities in the south. b) Personal -Search: search for hidden officers in the city. There is a chance the officer sent will find an Item instead. Politic decides the outcome. Military and Civil officers can extend this command to 2 months. -Recruit: attempt to recruit officers from your city or from an adjacent city about which you have information. Switch attempts to persuade the officer; Gold attempts to win the officer over with 100 Gold pieces (even if you are unsuccessful in recruiting, you will still lose the cash); Item sends the officer a rare gift; and Visit allows the ruler himself to meet with the prospect. Item and Visit can only be selected in the home city. Charm and enemy officer's Loyalty affect the outcome of all Recruiting commands. -Reward: raises the Loyalty of one or many officers, up to 100. You can still reward officers with Items if their Loyalty is maxed out. Gold sends a gift in cash to all officers selected, from 1 to 100 pieces each. Item rewards an officer with a rare offering. Book sends one officer a regular book. Governor's Charm affects Book command like so: - 1-39: +0 Loyalty - 40-59: +1 Loyalty - 60-89: +2 Loyalty - 90-100: +3 Loyalty Gold varies from officer to officer, and Item is predetermined. -Give: offer the populace some relief in the form of Food. Select an officer and an amount of rice, from 1 to 10000. Success depends on Charm, population size and the amount of Food given. -Delegate: delegate the rule of a vassal city. Choose from three orientations: Domestic, Military, or Balanced. If you appoint a Civil or Military officer as Governor, the rule is automatically delegated and you cannot gain direct control of it unless you appoint a General or Advisor as Governor, or unless your ruler moves there. You cannot delegate your home city. The sub-command Delegate lets all vassal cities rule themselves: Direct puts all cities whose Governors are Advisors or Generals back under your control; and City lets you decide the fate of individual cities. -Appoint: change the rank of an officer. There are five ranks: Advisor, General, Military officer, Civil officer, and Governor. You can also appoint a chief Advisor from all the Advisors in the city. Only the chief Advisor's Intelligence rating is a factor in predictions on the Main Screen. -Fire: get rid of an officer. He will become a free officer, but will never ask you for work again. You cannot fire an officer involved in an extended command. -Seize: confiscate a special Item from an officer. His Loyalty will drop. c) Diplomacy (only at home city) -Ally: ask another ruler for an alliance. You can also send a gift to convince him. Alliances last for as long as no ally revokes it or attacks the other ally. Charm, gift and Hostility decide the outcome. -Joint: ask another ruler to invade a third ruler's city along with you. The agreement is good for the three following months (excluding the current one). You can also send a gift to convince him. The ruler must control a city adjacent to the target, and have passage to it. Charm, gift and Hostility decide the result. (Note that the gift will actually be sent after the ruler invades the city with you.) -Truce: sue for peace with another ruler. Only available when there is an extended battle occurring in a city you control. You can also send a gift to convince the attacker to retreat. All prisoners will be released. Charm, gift and Hostility decide the outcome. -Exchange: ask a ruler for an exchange of goods. You can exchange Gold, Food, Bows, Crossbows, Horses, Items and Soldiers. You cannot ask for an Item. Charm and the fairness of the deal decide the outcome. -Help: ask an allied ruler for help. You can ask for Gold, Food, Bows, Crossbows, Horses and Soldiers. Charm and the amount you asked for decide the outcome. -Threaten: try to persuade a ruler to surrender. You can send a guard with the messenger to protect him from being Captured. Success is decided by both rulers' relative strength and the messenger's Charm. -Revoke: break an alliance with another ruler. If Hostility is under 70, your officers' Loyalty will drop, and popular support too. d) Info -Spy: send an officer to gather information on another city. You will learn about the following data, which are cumulative, in this order: 1) Officers and their rank. 2) Soldiers and City data. 3) Officers' age and years of service. 4) Officers' abilities. 5) Officers' loyalty. Military and Civil officers can extend this command to 6 months. Multiple spies do not increase the data gained. Success depends on Politic and time. -Own: See information about this city. Officer brings up a menu with all officers, both recruited and free: select one to display his abilities. List shows a quick listing of all officers, their abilities and the soldiers under them. City displays a screen containing information about the city. -Other: See information about another city. Same options as Own. You can only see info about another ruler's city if you sent a Spy, or if a wise man visited you this month. -Territory: List of all the cities under your control and their attributes. First screen: Governor, population, and popular support. Second screen: Gold, Food, and tax rate. Third screen: # of Officers, Land Development, Cultivation, Flood Control, and Irrigation. Fourth screen: Economy, # of soldiers total, Armored galleys, and Heavy galleys. Fifth screen: Light galleys, Bows, Crossbows, and Horses. -Sort: arrange officers by attributes: Intelligence, War, Charm, Politic, Army, Navy, Loyalty, or # of soldiers. Rulers and Governors are always at the top of the list. -Battlefield: display info about the different battlefields. A name in white is an unoccupied battlefield; a name in yellow is a battlefield occupied by a rival ruler; a name in blue is a battlefield you possess. To see which battlefield has which number, go to the Main Screen and press L or R to hide the menu. Press L or R once more to show cities and battlefields numbers. e) Development (all commands are affected by Politic and Gold invested, and can be extended up to 6 months by Civil officers) -Land: increases the amount of cultivable land. Affects the harvest of July. Also decreases Cultivation and Irrigation. Max: 100. -Cultivation: increases the amount of land cultivated by peasants. Affects the harvest of July. Reset to 0 after each harvest. Max: 100. -Flood Control: increases defenses against Floods and Typhoons by building dams. Also increases Irrigation. Max: 100. -Economy: increases the commercial value of a city. Affects the Gold tax in January. Max: 9999. f) Plot (you need Spying information on an adjacent city in order to be able to select Bribe, Forged Letter and Rebellion) -Hide: send an officer with Loyalty 95 or above to pose as a free officer in another ruler's city. If successful, the officer will be recruited. Civil officers will send you Spying reports. Officers in Hiding can be made to Switch during battles. Officers will come back of their own after a certain period of time, except if: 1) They are recruited by another ruler. 2) The city they were sent from becomes vacant. However, officers lost through Hiding can always be recruited by normal means. -Bribe: attempt to corrupt an officer of another ruler's city. If successful, the officer can be made to Switch sides during battle. Success depends on messenger's Charm and enemy officer's Loyalty. -Forged Letter: send a false letter to an officer. If successful, the target's Loyalty will drop. Success depends on messenger's Politic and enemy officer's Loyalty and Intelligence. -Rivalry: try to persuade two enemy cities to fight. You cannot select your own cities. Spying information, messengers' Intelligence, and the Intelligence of the cities' Advisors affect success. -Rebellion: persuade an enemy officer to rebel against his ruler. If successful, the officer will create a disturbance and attempt a coup. Success of the plot depends on Charm and the enemy officer's Loyalty; success of the rebellion depends on the number of soldiers under the enemy officer's command. If successful, the rebel officer will leave his master and create his own state. If he fails, he will become a free officer. g) Market -Sell Rice: sell Food for cash. The rate on the City Information screen is how many supplies you must sell to get one Gold. -Buy Rice: buy Food for cash. The rate on the City Information screen is how many supplies you can buy for one Gold. -Buy Weapons: buy bows and strong crossbows for cash. The rate on the City Information screen is how much it costs to get one unit (which equips 100 men). Officer's high Charm may get you additional weapons for free. -Buy Horses: buy horses for cash. The rate on the City Information screen is how much it costs to get one unit (which equips 100 men). Officer's high Charm may get you additional steeds for free. h) Emergency -Exile (only available in home city menu): go into exile. You can take your home city's officers, and a fraction of your supplies and soldiers, with you. All other officers in vassal cities become free officers. While in exile, you can move from city to city and get information on it. You can only settle in free cities. -Heal: Search for a renowned doctor (either Hua Tuo or Ji Ping) to cure officers' battle wounds or plague sickness. Military and Civil officers can extend this command to 3 months. -Tax: call for a special tax of the people. You will get additional Gold and Food, but popular support will severely drop. -Rate: change the tax rate for the January Gold tax and the July Food tax. Higher tax rates mean more revenue but may cause the people to rebel. 40% is default, and the highest value without a chance of rebellion. ************************ 3) Rulers Your ruler is the central character of the game. He gives orders to subordinates and can enter in diplomatic negotiations with other rulers. Q. What are the most important abilities for a ruler? A. All of them are more or less important, but two are vital. 1-Charm! With a high Charm rating, your ruler's reward command increases in potency (when using Books). He is also able to recruit officers more easily, and as a diplomatic messenger, it will be easier for him to convince other rulers. In this regard, acquiring the Hereditary Seal is most fortunate, as it raises its holder's Charm to 100. The +15 to Politic is also nice. (See section 6 on Items for details.) 2-Army! With a high Army rating, your ruler can command more soldiers. This makes him more resistant on defense, and he ceases to be a liability. With 70 or more, he can make Simultaneous attacks during land battles - and since he always is the commander-in-chief, it's rather important if he's going to be in a lot of battles. (Note: Navy can replace Army here, but since there aren't as many water battles as there are land battles, if you don't also have Army at 70, you won't be able to involve your ruler in Simultaneous attacks.) Why don't you need high ratings in the other abilities? Well, Intelligence is mostly used in Plots, and you have better uses for your ruler than scheming for two rival cities to fight - that's what Advisors are for. Enemy Plots shouldn't worry you, unless you're playing at Advanced level - and even then. Politic is nice, because it allows you to make improvements on your city via Development and to search for free officers. But when you *do* begin to have enough time and money to invest, you should have more than enough subordinate officers to take care of that. What about War? It's always useful in battles and duels, but if you grow cocky and your ruler is captured by an enemy general full of prowess (hint: Lu Bu!), it's a bitch. It should be high enough so that most generals don't always challenge him, though. So in summary, here's the order of priority: Charm, Army/Navy, War, Politic, and Intelligence. Q. Who are the good/bad rulers? A. Depends on the scenario. This list not only takes into account the ruler's abilities, but also his territory and potential for growth. It also assumes that you're a beginner, because with some skill and experience you can finish the game with any ruler. Scenario 1: Good: Cao Cao Sun Jian Yuan Shao Liu Yan Dong Zhuo Bad: Ma Teng Wang Lang Yan Baihu Kong Zhou Gongsun Zan Qiao Mao Han Fu Scenario 2: Good: Cao Cao Liu Bei Sun Ce Yuan Shao Liu Zhang Liu Biao Bad: Kong Rong Ma Teng Wang Lang Yan Baihu Zhang Lu Scenario 3-6: There aren't any really good or bad rulers in later scenarios. Those with little territory (Liu Bei in 3 for example) have many officers and can expand. Rulers with lots of cities (i.e. Cao Cao) may have more resources but have few officers in every city, making it more difficult to develop. The only exception is Meng Huo in Scenario 5. Now that's a challenge! Q. Can I recruit other rulers? A. Directly, no. The only way to get a ruler to work for you is to make him surrender to you via Diplomacy > Threaten. However, the command usually works only when your soldiers vastly outnumber his, are stationed close, and when he's generally screwed. Q. What are good fictitious rulers? A. Here are some of my favorites. #1: The Warrior Intl 55 Army 100 Pol 60 Navy 50 War 90 Charm 70 Real nice in battles. With the Luminous Sword, you'll get 100 in War, although you could forego some Charm to make it higher to start with. At 110, few people will dare fight you. But still, beware Lu Bu! #2: The Civil Dude Intel 95 Army 50 Pol 95 Navy 50 War 65 Charm 70 Okay, so he's not so great in battles. But he can Plot like no one else! Wow. #3: Personal Favoritest Ruler Intl 55 Army 80 Pol 60 Navy 50 War 80 Charm 100 Wowee! Soldiers, and top Charm - that's useful. If you plan on seizing Luoyang and getting the Hereditary Seal soon, then cut back on Charm and invest more on Army and perhaps Politic. Yes, Politic. Or maybe War. (Note: All those examples are with males of less than forty years of age. If you change either sex or age, then you'll get different starting values and bonus points.) ************************ 4) Officers Officers are the life and blood of your organization. They come in different flavors, and some are better suited for specialized purposes. Q. What are the different kinds of officers? A. There's six main kinds, plus two sub-kinds. You can appoint Civil and Military officers, Generals, Advisors and Governors via the Personal > Appoint command. When Generals or Advisors are appointed from Civil or Military officers, they gain some loyalty. When Civil or Military officers are appointed from Generals or Advisors, they lose some loyalty. Main kinds: 1-Civil Officer This guy ideally has good Politic, Intelligence and Charm, but there are no strict prerequisites. Used in Personal (extended), Diplomatic, Development (extended), Plot commands and to Spy (extended). 2-Military Officer He should have appreciable War and Army/Navy, but there are no strict prerequisites. Used in Military (extended), Personal (extended) commands and to Spy (extended). 3-General A higher kind of Military Officer. To become a General, an officer needs to have War, Army and Navy ratings of at least 70 (although a very high value can redeem another lower one). Can be used in Military, Personal, Diplomatic, Development, Plot commands and to Spy. 4-Advisor A higher kind of Civil Officer. To become an advisor, an officer needs a high combination of Intelligence and Politic (does anyone know the exact formula?). Can be used in Military, Personal, Diplomatic, Development, Plot commands and to Spy. Also gives predictions on Main Screen Commands. 5-Governor Governs vassal cities for the ruler. You can directly control cities whose Governors are Generals or Advisors, or delegate them. You *have* to delegate cities whose Governors are Civil or Military officers. Note that if you appoint a Civil officer to be a Governor, he will gain the ability to have soldiers. 6-Ruler The main character. Acts as a Governor of the home city. No restrictions on abilities. Sub-kinds: 7-Hidden Officer An officer hidden in a city. You must discover him with the Search command to be able to recruit him. 8-Free Officer An officer who has been discovered with the Search command or fired by a ruler. Travels from city to city waiting to be recruited. Sometimes free officers will apply to you for employment. Q. Who are good Generals/Advisors? A. Oh God, I'm not gonna list them all! Anyway, here are some truly great ones, in order of personal preference. Note that in later scenarios, most of them are already recruited by rulers - and loyal to them, too. Advisors: Deng Ai Jiang Wei Zhuge Liang Sima Yi (and his sons) Pang Tong Lu Xun Zhou Yu Xu Shu Lu Meng Lu Su Zhuge Jin Xun Yu Xun You Zhong Hui Generals : Zhao Yun Guan Yu (and his sons) Zhang Fei (and his son) Ma Chao Huang Zhong Lu Bu Xu Zhu Xiahou Dun Xiahou Yuan (and some of his sons: Xiahou Ba, He and Hui) Xu Huang Zhang He Zhang Liao Taishi Ci (IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't mail me saying, "Yes, but [insert character's name here] is also great!" You're probably right, but this isn't an exhaustive list.) Q. Help! My officers suck! A. Tsk tsk. A couple of pointers: 1-Don't recruit everyone. You need to pay your officers' wages, so check abilities before recruiting. You don't need too many Military officers. I love Civil officers, although you can get by with Generals and Advisors. 2-Send spies for extended periods of time in adjacent cities. If you send them for long enough (usually five or six months) you'll get the residing officers' Loyalty rating. The lower it is, the higher your chances of successfully recruiting them. 3-Search! It's simple, really. When you get a new city, search for officers with someone who has a high Politic rating. Also, here's a list of where good officers usually appear in Historical mode: Chenliu Xuchang Luoyang Changan Xiangyang Runan Chengdu If you get those cities, you'll probably get good officers eventually. Q. How do I recruit officers from other rulers? A. See number 2 to above question. You also can use an advisor with high Intelligence. First, send a spy to assert the officers' Loyalty. If it's under 95, they can be recruited (yes, believe me). The lower, the easier. How? Send someone with as much Charm as possible, and with Gold if you can afford it. Listen to your Advisor's predictions (see section 8 for tips on Super-Advisors). If you're not sure your Advisor is correct, then don't waste any Gold and use Switch instead. A Visit with the ruler has a higher chance of success. Items too, but be prepared to lose them if you do succeed in recruiting! If you recruit the Governor of another ruler's city, the whole city falls into your hands, and all its officers too. Their Loyalty will vary widely, (depending on Hostility?) and some may even quit and become free officers. Extra tip: if you know that an officer can qualify as a General or an Advisor but is merely a Civil or Military officer under another ruler, it usually means his Loyalty is very low. You can see officers' rank as early as the first month of Spying, so use this to your advantage! Q. Help! I've lost an officer through enemy recruiting/battle! A. Don't panic. If it was through recruiting, you can try to recruit him back. However, he might love his new master - in which case your only course of action is to plot sweet, sweet vengeance. If you lose a good officer in battle, he will never be captured or freed but always recruited (unless you're playing against a human opponent). It's really easy to recruit those back, unless their Loyalty was abysmal under you. Just know that any Items he had with him will now be in the enemy ruler's possession. In such a case, be sure to plot sweet, sweet vengeance. ************************ 5) Cities Furnish you with a base. Every January, citizens pay you a Gold tax - and you pay your officers' and soldiers' wages. Every July, citizens pay you a Food tax - and you pay your officers' and soldiers' wages. Q. What are good cities? A. Most cities of the central plain of China are good, especially the two capitals of Luoyang and Changan. Here's a list of good cities with a large population: Luoyang Changan Xuchang Nanpi Wan Xinye Xiangyang Shangyong Wu Chengdu Qiao Runan Q. Bad cities? A. Ugh. List. Xiangping Daixian Jinyang Puyang Wuling Lingling Guiyang Nanhai Jianning Xiabian Anding Xiliang Tianshui Note that the bad ones are on the periphery of the map, and the good ones in the middle. So, in general, I advise you to expand toward the center. Q. Why can't I recruit more soldiers? A. Check your main screen: the population is in red. It means your army is too large for the population to support. Or your officers already have their maximum amount of soldiers, but that doesn't happen often. Q. What about development? When/what/how much? A. Cities always produce goods for you. Moreover, so long as you have a large population to draw soldiers from, you should be happy. Development, however, increases their productivity at January and July taxes. Developing Flood Control also lessens the impact of Floods and Typhoons. When: Early on, your efforts should go towards military conquest - assuming you're playing one of the earlier scenarios, of course. Getting soldiers, training them, and recruiting new officers should be your main occupations. Development is always a long-term plan, and right now you should pay attention to your present survival if others attack you. So, I suggest beginning Development when you have a handful of Civil officers (2-3) and extra Advisors who aren't doing anything. Having a small territory of 2-3 cities is also recommendable. What: Start with Economy. Always Economy. With more cash, you can issue more Development commands, Draft/Hire soldiers, and buy weapons and supplies (I find it easier to buy Food, by the way, then to grow it - less hassle). Then, as you get more cash from conquests or taxes, start working on Land and Flood control. Cultivation is not really important, but if you're hurting for rice and the harvest is coming up then it's a decent choice. How much: Land and Flood control don't need to be maximized at 100, even if you plan on holding on to that city. You only need Food on the front, and you don't need to grow that much anyway because you can always buy some - it's faster. Notice that even if the main screen shows Flood Control at 100, you sometimes can continue working on it: this is because of Irrigation, which increases the harvest. Irrigation is a factor of Land and Flood Control: Land decreases it, but Flood Control increases it. You can see Irrigation in the Info > Own > City screen. As for Economy, don't go crazy: the max is 9999, but reaching that will take you fifty years of constant development. Anywhere from 1500 to 3000 is good, especially if it's a safe city. Q. What about Popular Support? A. Max it, that's my advice, unless you're hurting for Food. The larger the population, the more rice and the more Charm it will take to get a good effect, but it's worth it. A city with high support has no chance of rebelling, and will yield more at tax time. (Note: it is more efficient to spread the gifts of Food. Giving a city ten times 1000 Food will have a bigger impact than giving 10000 Food at once.) Q. My city's values (Land, Flood Control, Cultivation, Economy, and Popular Support) keep dropping! Why? A. Three possible explanations: 1-Natural disasters, such as Plague, Flood, Typhoon, and Locusts will lower these attributes. Rebellions by the people will too. 2-War in your city. 3-You're pissing off the people with emergency taxes and drafting solders, in which case the Popular support drops. ************************ 6) WAR! Yes, war. Fighting with other warlords is the main way you'll gain new cities and settle disputes. Q. How can I win in war? A. That's another one of those large, unanswerable questions. Let's see... 1-Soldiers The more you have, the better. High Training (increase with Military > Training command) also makes them tougher, which means you'll take less damage and inflict more in battle with others units. Training to 100 is a must. I repeat: a must. As for Morale, you can raise it to 100 too (with Military > Rally command). Training will also increase Morale, but up to 70 - as such, it's more efficient to begin with Training and follow up with Rally. Morale affects mobility, overall power, and how long the troops can stay without Food. However, it has the interesting capacity to go over 100 (up to 120) if you make the soldiers participate in battles. Over 100, you will witness an increase in mobility from 6 to 8, indicating that you're using "veteran" troops. If you plan to go heavy cavalry, then a Morale rating of 70 or so is sufficient, since cavalry units always have a mobility of 8. The drawback of veterans is that participation in battle usually reduces their number, so that soon you have to choose between officers with few veteran soldiers or officers with large untrained mobs. There's two ways to overcome this problem. First, you can consolidate your smaller squads of soldiers, by Military > Assign, and merge several small groups into a bigger one under the command of a single officer. Another solution is to merge veteran troops with soldiers who already have a Morale of 100. The overall Morale of the resulting unit will still be over 100, and you will experience the gain of mobility desired. There are three ways to acquire new soldiers. The first one is to Draft them from a city. Fresh recruits have low Training and Morale levels, and need much time to become battle-ready. However, they are dirt-cheap: 100 drafted men cost 10 Gold and 100 Food. The officers' War rating determine how many recruits you can Draft. This is how you should get your soldiers early on in the game. The second way to acquire soldiers is to Hire them from a city. Those mercenaries have higher Training and Morale levels, but cost 40 Gold and 200 Food per 100 men. Your officers' Charm rating determine how many troops you can Hire. When resources start pouring in, Hiring soldiers will drastically reduce your battle preparations. The third way to gain soldiers is to recruit enemy officers who have some. You can do this from the Main Screen, or by capturing officers in battle as they try to flee or in Duels with your generals. The Training and Morale will vary greatly depending on your opponent. Note that if you Free or Capture the officer, you will not get his soldiers. Instead of killing him, Recruit and then Assign his troops (or Fire him if his Loyalty is too low, it's faster). Beware, rulers tend to Assign most of their troops to very loyal followers. 2-Terrain There are three kinds of battles: city, land, or naval. a) In a city battle, the defending side is positioned inside the walls while the attackers are on the outskirts. To get inside, the attackers must assault the gates to destroy them (using a Normal attack, not with Simultaneous, Bow, Firebolt, Charge, or Fire). Gates have a toughness of 100: when it reaches 0, the gate opens. You can also climb over city walls if you have a mobility of 9 (just spend a few turns waiting to increase mobility). It won't always work, especially if Training and Morale are low. There are subtler ways to open the gate - from the inside. If one of your units is already within the city, it can open the gate for the others by just walking in it. If you Bribed an enemy officer on defense or have an officer in Hiding, have him Switch to your side and open the doors! Last, if a defense unit stands in a doorway and is attacked at melee range by one of the attacking units, the gate will stay open. Not only can you win city battles by destroying the opposite side or making them flee, but the attackers can also win by seizing all the castles in the area. Doesn't happen often, though, and so long as the defenders hold one castle all the other ones provide no benefit. (It has only happened to me twice.) In a single month, the two sides will fight for 10 days, with 3 turns by day - hence a total of 30 turns. If no winner has been declared, the battle will continue next month unless a Truce is declared. The two sides can send more reinforcements to the besieged city during the month via Military > War. b) In a land battle, the armies are arrayed in the countryside. Here, it's the defending side that has an extra way to win: if they can defend the battlefield for twenty (?) days, the attacking side must retreat. There are three main kinds of land battlefields: fortification, mountain and plain. c) A naval battle is identical to a land battle, only now units are aboard ships. Fire plays a bigger role in those contests. No, you can't get off on islands or the riverside. You're stuck. Weather also plays a part in battle. Clear is the default weather: you can see everywhere, and so can your enemy. When it rains, units' vision is restricted to the squares immediately next to them. Fire commands (Plot > Fire and Attack > Firebolt) are also unavailable. In fog, there is no vision at all, and if you move carelessly, you may encounter an enemy unit. In such a case Training, Morale and the commander's abilities determine which side gets to make a Surprise attack! 3-Weapons There are four kinds of military units. 1-Infantry uses no weapon, and has mobility depending on its morale and any special horses (Item) the commander may possess. They can use Normal, Simultaneous, Surprise, Charge and Combat attacks. Verdict: cheap and effective. Don't forget to train them. 2-Archers have regular bows. Their mobility also depends on morale and the commander's horses. They can use Normal, Simultaneous, Surprise, Bow, Firebolt, Charge, and Combat attacks. Bow and Firebolt have a range of 2. Verdict: technically better than Infantry, but I don't like to use them too much. At the beginning of the game they broaden your tactical options, but later on invest in... 3-Strong Archers use strong crossbows. They have the same abilities and attacks as regular Archers, but their ranged attacks have increased power and a range of 3. Verdict: Uwwaa! My favorite unit. If you keep a few tens of thousands of these behind walls, no one can get through. It's a waste to have them fight hand to hand because dead soldiers somehow take their weapons with them to Heaven. And Lord knows strong crossbows cost an arm and a leg. 4-Cavalry units have a mobility of 8 unaffected by morale - commander's horses can still make a difference. They are faster and stronger than Infantry in close quarters, especially their Charge attack. Can use Normal, Simultaneous, Surprise, Charge and Combat attacks. Verdict: I don't like Cavalry. In field battles they're nice, especially if your soldiers lack Morale, but in city assault they don't possess the crucial ability of being able to climb walls. Also, since it's cavalry's job to fight toe-to-toe with the enemy, you'll always lose horses after each fight - which does not happen with Archers and Strong Archers. There also are three kinds of ships you can use in naval battles. You can only build ships in cities of the South Land (check if Military > Ship is available or not). 1-Light galley (1000 gold and 2 months to build 2) They have a mobility of 8, but low attacking and defensive powers. Dirt cheap, I guess. 2-Heavy galley (2000 gold and 4 months to build 2) Mobility of 6 and intermediate battle power. 3-Armored galley (3000 gold and 6 months to build 2) Now we're talking. Resists attacks well, but has a mobility of only 4. Note that in naval battles you must assign both weapons and ship to a unit. Don't waste cavalry in naval battles, they don't provide any bonus. 4-Strategy Okay, here it goes. Let's separate this section in three: Defense, Offense, and Tactics. Defense: The goal is to do maximum damage to your opponent with minimum damage to you. As such, ranged units (i.e. Archers and Strong Archers) are the key. Position them behind gates or walls, and have them fire away at incoming foes. If the gates are breached, have the Archers retreat behind a wall of Infantry/Cavalry positioned on strong ground (houses, camps, forests or hills). Keep firing from behind while your melee units engage the enemy at close range. If you have waaayyyy more soldiers than the opponent, he might just run away upon seeing you. It happens. If you have little Food, the enemy might piss around and wait for you to starve. You can either forfeit and flee, or try to beat them before your troops lose all their Morale. Offense: The goal is to strike where it hurts the most - the commander-in-chief. If the defenders' CIC runs away, the whole force has to follow. So concentrate your attacks on him, keeping away reinforcements from interfering. However, another easy way to win is to look at the soldier/Food ratio. If you have a higher ratio than the enemy does, technically you can starve him. If, say, he has 10000 Food for 10000 soldiers, and you have 20000 Food for the same number of soldiers, then you'll win if you just sit back and wait for him to go through all his supplies. This may take a very long time, and I don't recommend it. I suggest you starve the enemy only if he has a low amount of Food, period - none at all is good. If they have little Food, they'll come for your ass like crazy, and Charge your CIC through and through. Just retreat gradually, and let them starve. Tactics: 1 - Fire! You can set the ground on fire using the Plot > Fire command in the menu, or by shooting Firebolts with a large number of soldiers. Fire's movement depends on the wind, so be careful. Forests and grass are easier to burn than swamp and river. Castles are almost invulnerable. If it's raining, burning terrain will be extinguished. It's much easier to set empty ground on fire than to set fire to ground occupied by a unit. On defense, shoot Firebolts over the walls at enemies: they'll be caught in a sea of flame, and your own forces will be protected by the fortifications. In naval battles, you can set the enemy's ship on fire by the same two methods. The ship will burn until the enemy successfully douses the fire with Plot > Extinguish, or until it rains. Be careful with fire. Forests burn especially well, and wind can shift suddenly. 2 - Simultaneous attacks! Have two or more units concentrate their attacks on one enemy. It takes an Army rating of 70 to initiate a Siml. on land, and a Navy rating of 70 for naval battles. Choose Siml. and a target (only melee attacks can be Simultaneous). All other friendly units (including reinforcements) surrounding the enemy and who haven't acted this turn will join in the attack. Up to 5 friendly units can join in a Siml. attack for a 6-sided smiting. Ouch! The interesting thing with Simultaneous attacks is that they are more efficient than their normal counterparts. If, for example, two of your units of equal size independently attack a single enemy, they'll each lose X soldiers and kill Y enemy soldiers (well, technically *no*, but let's assume it's that way). If you have them attack Simultaneously, they'll each lose less than X soldiers and will kill more than (Y x 2) soldiers. Try to trap enemy units along mountains or walls - or better, surround them. 3 - Charge! All land units have the ability to get in there and mix it up with the enemy, and it's stronger than a Normal attack. Cavalry is the best at this, and Archers the worse. The Charge is more powerful the higher the commander's War rating is. When Charging, you may injure the commander of the enemy unit. Use Charge when the enemy has few soldiers remaining. You may capture the enemy commander. You can use Charge to get in or out of a particular spot, as you may traverse the enemy unit when Charging. It's sort of a desperate measure, but what the heck, it's there if you need it. 4 - Combat! Duels between the officers is one of the coolest features of this game. To initiate a duel, just choose Attack > Combat. Only units in land and city battles can use this, and you cannot ask for a duel of a unit inside a castle - usually the CIC, in other words. The officer receiving the challenge may decline it. In that case his unit loses Morale. Also, your own officers may accept a challenge without consulting you. If the duel is accepted, the result depends mainly on the officers' War rating. The two warriors will exchange blows for as long as needed. A duel ends when: a) One officer's stamina (the colored bar) is empty. b) One officer successfully flees from battle (in which case his unit loses Morale). c) Both officers' health is very low (around 15% or less) and they decide to call it a draw. If your officer wins a duel, his unit's Morale goes up. The enemy commander and his soldiers are captured, and are out of the battle from now on. 5-Food Food is extremely important, either on offense or on defense. Always be sure to have more Food than soldiers: a 1:2 (soldier:Food) ratio is the minimum I recommend. If a city has very few supplies (the Food counter on the main screen will be red) other rulers will constantly attack until you starve to death. The easiest way to get Food is to get it from conquests. You can raid another ruler's city, kill everyone inside, and get the supplies - both Gold and Food. Then retreat back to your base. The second easiest way to get Food is to buy it. Look at the Info > Own > City screen, and at the value next to the [+ rice] icon. Price ranges from 25 (yuck) to 75 (great) Food per Gold. You can usually buy 100000 Food for less than 4000 Gold. Of course, you can always wait for the harvest in July. The Food obtained depends on the population size, support, tax rate, Land, Cultivation and Irrigation. You must pay Food wages to your forces too, so the less soldiers and officers in the city the more goes in your pockets. 6-Plots You can activate special Plots in battle. If there's an Advisor on the defending side, he may also suggest that you dig pitfalls before the battle starts. The number of pitfalls depend on the Advisor's Intelligence rating. Place pitfalls in front of gates and bridges. They can deal a lot of damage, depending on the enemy unit's size. If you are attacking and have an Advisor with you, he may warn you of the presence of pitfalls. Interestingly enough, I found out that those pitfalls never have a definite emplacement. But it seems your Advisor has a chance to "disarm" the pitfalls at the beginning of the battle. If he fails, you're sure to encounter pitfalls if you step on a space where a pitfall can be dug. If he succeeds, you won't encounter any pitfalls at all. -Fire: covered in the section above on Tactics. With this command, the unit tries to set fire to an adjacent space. Setting fire to ground occupied by a unit is much more difficult than setting empty space on fire. Success depends on Intelligence of your officer, and on that of the enemy commander if you're trying to set occupied land on fire. -Ambush: have a unit take cover in terrain. You can only Ambush in land and city battles. Terrain in which you can Ambush are forests, high grass, and hills. When Ambushed, a unit will stay that way until you order it to move Normally or until an enemy unit walks up to it. In that case you will be given the choice of making a Surprise attack! Those attacks are extremely powerful, and casualties on the attacking side are exceedingly low. You can also move while Ambushed to other Ambushable terrain, for 6 mobility points. To break cover, just order the unit to move Normally. You can't ambush the CIC, Cavalry or units already located next to enemy units. Sometimes Ambush fails. If there's Fog, and you can't see the enemy unit next to you, Ambush will fail anyway. -Switch: try to persuade an enemy commander to switch to your side. There are three options: Hide, Bribe, or Any. If you sent an officer in Hiding and he's among the opposing troops, he will immediately Switch to your side. If you have an Advisor with you, he will tell you if any officers are in Hiding among the enemy forces. You can Bribe enemy commanders before the battle starts. The lower their Loyalty is, the better the chances of success. Interestingly enough, you can Bribe enemy Governors! If they hold the only castle in the city, then you'll win automatically upon the Governor's treason. Your Advisor will also tell you if any Bribed officers are around. The Any option attempts to persuade an enemy officer who hasn't been Bribed or sent in Hiding. Success depends on his Loyalty, and the commander's Intelligence and Charm. It also costs some Gold to attempt this, whether you succeed or fail. -Incite: have two adjacent enemy units attack each other. Really powerful, as it costs you no soldiers. However, you need to really see that the two units are side by side. Success depends on the Intelligence of your commander and on the enemy commander's. Confuse: attempts to confound an enemy unit. If successful, the enemy unit will be marked with a ? and unable to act for a few turns. I'm unsure as to whether it also decreases the unit's defensive abilities. This Plot depends on the Intelligence of your commander and the enemy's. ************************ 7) Items Enhance officers' abilities. There are four kinds: Books, Swords, Horses, and Miscellaneous. 1-Books War Manual of Sun Tzu: Intelligence +10, Politic +5. Seven copies of this book on the Art of War are scattered throughout the land. Discover them with the Search command. New Treatise of Meng De: Intelligence +8, Politic +5. Meng De is the pseudonym of Cao Cao. Another volume on the art of war. Cao Cao has it in Scenarios 1-4. You can find it in 5 and 6. Way of Peace: Intelligence +5, Politic +5. The "T'ai-p'ing ching", in other words. Search for it. Supreme Book of Magic: Intelligence +6, Politic +5. The wise man Zuo Ci may visit you at the beginning of the month and bestow it upon you. 2-Swords Black Dragon: War +5. Guan Yu's sword (in Scenarios 1-4), stolen by Pan Zhang (under Sun Quan) after his death (Scenario 5). Search for it in 6. Sword of the Seven Stars: War +7. A foot-long blade, richly decorated. Carried by Wang Yun in Scenario 1, but can be discovered with the Search command in later scenarios. Sword of Trust: War +8. The sword of Cao Cao and his descendants. Luminous Sword: War +10. Another one of Cao Cao's sword. Carried by Cao Cao in Scenarios 1-3, and by Zhao Yun in 4-5. Can be found with Search in Scenario 6. 3-Horses Stallion of the Storm: Mobility +1, and 100% rate of fleeing from battle (and duels?). Liu Bei has it in Scenario 4. Search for it in others. Grey Lightning: Mobility +1, and 100% rate of fleeing from battle (and duels?). The horse of Cao Cao and his descendants. Red Hare: Mobility +2, and 100% rate of fleeing from battle (and duels?). Belongs to Lu Bu in scenarios 1 and 2, and to Guan Yu in 3 and 4. Use the Search command to get it in Scenarios 5 and 6. 4-Miscellaneous: Medical Book of Hua Tuo: Given to you by Hua Tuo himself, when you use the Heal command. Effect: if an injured officer is in your home city, he will immediately recuperate the following month. Hereditary Seal: Politic +15, Charm to 100. Sun Ce has it in Scenario 2, Cao Cao in Scenario 3-4, and the latter's descendants in 5-6. Search for it in Luoyang during Scenario 1. ************************ 8) General tips General advice and hints. 1-Super Advisors You'll have noticed by now that if you have one or more Advisors, the chief Advisor will make predictions concerning the success of the commands you issue on the Main Screen. The accuracy of these predictions depends on the Intelligence rating of the chief Advisor: the higher it is, the more accurate. Technically, the only Advisor with a 100% accuracy in predictions is Zhuge Liang, everyone else having 98 or less in Intelligence. But you can increase Intelligence with books! The 7 War Manuals of Sun Tzu, the New Treatise of Meng De, the Way of Peace, and the Supreme Book of Magic all give a bonus in Intelligence to their holder (see section 7 on Items). So all you have to do is find an Advisor with an Intelligence rating of 90 or above, and reward him with a book that will raise it to 100 or more. Voila! All his predictions will always be right from now on. Just be sure to appoint him chief Advisor, using the Personal > Appoint command. All the Advisors I recommend in the section on Officers have an Intelligence of 90 or above, so search for those guys! 2-Alliances There are two ways to use alliances. The first is to ally yourself to a powerful ruler nearby. This way, you can call on him for help in offense (via Diplomacy > Joint) or on defense. Also, if the ruler has no Advisor in his home city, you can ask him for supplies (by Diplomacy > Help). Ask for outrageous amounts like 50,000 gold in January: the ruler won't want to give you that much, but he'll offer you a new term still very considerable. This works mostly with stupid rulers, like Dong Zhuo. The second way is even sneakier. If your powerful ally decides that you're going down, he'll have to break the alliance. Granted that your Hostility rating is below 70, this will drastically lower his officers' Loyalty and the popular support of his cities. You can now recruit practically all his officers, get his soldiers, and attack him! Extra tip: if you want to subdue an ally but don't want to break the alliance because it will lower your officers' Loyalty, just threaten him once or twice (Diplomacy > Threaten). When the hostility reaches 70 or more, revoking an alliance doesn't cause any drop in Loyalty or popular support. 3-Battlefields Try to gain cities and battlefields that control areas. For example, Luoyang has two battlefields nearby: Hulaoguan to the east and Huguan to the northeast. If you get those, you'll pretty much control the center the map and prevent any horizontal expansion from other rulers. Divide and conquer, sorta. Another city with important battlefields is Jiangling, surrounded by Chibi, Changban and Yiling. Last, Jianye in the east can control Hefei, Ruxukou and Zhunyin. Also, fighting in battlefields instead of cities protect the latter's values (Land, Economy, etc.) from dropping. Fortifications are particularly easy to defend: just stick tons of Archers behind them, and fire at anyone who comes close. With an Advisor, pitfalls become an option, and defeat seems unlikely. 4-Starter's guide If you start a new fictitious ruler in Scenario 1, here's a quick help guide of what to do. I assume you chose one good Advisor (with 100 Intelligence if you can, or at least 90!) and one good General to start with. The third officer is up to you, but I prefer a second General. As soon as you can, raise your Advisor' Intelligence to 100 or more with a Book Item. This guide's general principles can also be applied to any other Scenario or ruler. 1) Choose Xuchang as your city. It's big, and has a couple of battlefields nearby (Guandu and Hulaoguan). It's also close to other big cities, like Qiao, Runan, and Luoyang. 2) In the first month, draft ten thousand soldiers and train them. 3) As soon as possible, ally with Cao Cao. Also, send a spy to Luoyang. Ask Cao Cao for help only in tough fights, since you have to reward him when he comes to your help with Gold and Food. 4) Try to recruit Wang Yun from Dong Zhuo. He's a good Civil Officer, but moreover he has the Sword of the Seven Stars. Get if from him (by Personal > Seize) and repeatedly try to recruit Lu Bu with it. It will work eventually. (Don't worry about Wang Yun's Loyalty too much.) 5) Be sure to search your city. There's a bunch of okay officers waiting for you, and a very good one: Zhang Liao. 6) Keep increasing your army and training it. Eventually, you'll be strong enough to attack a battlefield. If Cao Cao has Guandu, don't get it because he's your ally. Get Hulaoguan, but beware of Li Ru. If he's in Ye (if Dong Zhuo attacked Han Fu early on) or Hongnong, then no worries. 7), Cao Cao doesn't like alliances. After a widely varying period of time - from 6 months to 3 years - he'll break the alliance and attack you. Repel the attack as best as you can (be sure to have enough Food!) and then Spy in his cities nearby. Recruit all the officers you can, such as Xun Yu and You, Xiahou Dun and Yuan, Man Chong, Guo Jia, Dian Wei, Cheng Yu, etc. 8) You should now have around 60,000 soldiers, depending on how soon Cao Cao broke your alliance. Ally with Yuan Shu (if he's still strong in Wan) and ask him to attack Luoyang with you. Again, beware Li Ru if he's there, and Hua Xiong too. 9) After getting Luoyang, rest your armies and hire more soldiers. From there you can pursue Dong Zhuo west via Hongnong and Changan, asking Yuan Shu for help. Another option is to go back east via Ye and Xuchang to seize Chenliu, Qiao, Runan, and eventually Nanpi. If Liu Bei is still alive in Pingyuan, ally with him and help him defend himself from Yuan Shao. If (or when) Yuan Shao gets Pingyuan, send a spy ASAP to recruit Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. Once you have control of the central plain, you have a lot of options. I prefer to work my way west and get Changan and the surrounding battlefields. Tao Qian, Kong Rong and Gongsun Zan are all weak. Yuan Shao is better, but you can probably recruit many of his good officers like Zhang He. If you want to head south, do so by Wan, Xinye, Shangyong and Xiangyang. They are much better cities than Jianye, Shouchun or Wu in the east. Liu Biao is not too strong, but he controls a rich region - ask Sun Jian for help in beating him. 5-Safe cities I call safe cities those that are not exposed to enemy attacks. A city can be safe because you control all the surroundings ones, or because the cities around are empty. Just stick a couple of officers in such a place, and you have a base that produces supplies for you at no cost in defense. You may want to do some Development beforehand to increase production. Also, beware rulers in exile who may settle in vacant cities nearby. What safe cities do is increase your total supplies for war. You can send Gold and Food to the front, allowing the hard-pressed Governors to recruit more soldiers. Also, you might get killer prices at the market in some of your safe cities. Buy weapons and ship them off to soldiers who need them. To a lesser extent, cities that have battlefields as protection are also "safe". You still need some soldiers to defend the battlefield, unless another city you control also has passage to this battlefield. ************************ 9) Links www.threekingdoms.com Translation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor. Amazing read. http://www.sonshi.com/learn.html Translation of Sun Tzu's Art of War. Many of its principles apply to RTK3. ************************ 10) Wanted!!! -I need to get a capture of the Medical Book of Hua Tuo's Item screen. -So far as I know, the only real hidden character is Zhuge Liang. I believe you can only recruit him in either Xiapi or Xiangyang with Liu Bei (in Historical mode). Is this right? Are there any more characters you think are hidden? -If anyone can tell me how to get Sima Yen or can send me a picture of his Officer screen, I'd be grateful. I suppose you must control Wei in 255 with Sima Shi or Zhao as an officer, or something like that, to get him. I never had the time to try this. -If you have more good links for the Links section, send them in. Don't send in your own crappy site, though. I only want quality sites wholly devoted to RTK. Thanks. -If you liked my FAQ and want to thank me, go ahead. I didn't write this for machines. I wrote this for people who needed help with a fun game. Also, if you have any questions NOT COVERED IN THIS FAQ (read it first!!!) then go ahead and mail me. I'll try to answer them, and if they're good they might make it into a future version of the FAQ. ************************ 11) Credits The following people deserve hearty thanks for contributing info to this FAQ: kawaiifan, Michael Prentiss, Ferri K., PAKrasean, Shawn, Tammy Wright, and The Hound for miscellaneous information and screenshots of the Supreme Book of Magic and the Medical Book of Hua Tuo. Brian Segall for making me change my mind about whether buying or growing Food is more efficient. I still say buying it is more *convenient*, though! Dogmanwalking for reminding me that Duels can end with a draw. Doh! ************************ Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed it!