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Battle of Runan
Runan in Dynasty Warriors 8
Date 200 ~ 201
Location Runan, Yu Province (modern day Zhumadian, Henan)
Result Cao Cao victorious
Cao Cao's Forces Liu Bei's Forces
Cao Cao Liu Bei

The Battle of Runan (汝南の戦い, rōmaji: Jonan no Tatakai) is a series of southern conflicts that takes place during Guandu. The area itself acts as the original roots for the Yuan family, but the battle is a part of Yuan Shao and Sun Ce's gamble to take Xuchang away from Cao Cao. While their advance movements proved successful, Liu Bei and his forces are ultimately driven back towards Runan. The games seek to reenact Liu Bei's moment of defeat.

Role in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

Ru Nan acts as an imaginary confrontation in Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends; it's the setting of the first battle for the Yellow Turbans and the final battle for the Nanman. The Yellow Turbans version has the allied forces defending the center castle from the combined forces of Liu Bei, Cao Cao, and Sun Jian. Simultaneously, Zhang Jiao and his men are charged with the responsibility of protecting their peasant followers from danger as they are surrounded on three fronts. The Nanman version of the battle takes an offensive stance for the region as they attack Lu Bu and Cao Cao within the castle. Their primary objective is to strike down the masterminds behind the conflict: Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang, and Zhou Yu.

In Dynasty Warriors 4, this acts as a 'Tales' level for Shu. Liu Bei is suddenly attacked by Cao Cao after leaving Yuan Shao at Ru Nan Castle. Zhao Yun arrives to serve under Liu Bei just in time to save him from attacking Cao Wei troops. Guan Yu also arrives at the other side of the map after fleeing from Cao Cao. Former Yellow Turban, Liu Pi can also arrive to help Liu Bei. The only way to get out of the castle to attack Cao Cao is by defeating Xu Zhu at its center. Then, Xiahou Dun arrives at the northern exit of the castle. After defeating him, Cao Cao can be defeated in the north.

The idea of Liu Bei escaping happens again during Shu's Musou Mode in Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2. This time, players are charged with keeping Liu Bei alive until reinforcements arrive. His survival is the primary objective and this can be achieved by either striking Cao Cao down or letting Liu Bei escape as planned. Striking Cao Cao down instead allows the player to activate an enter the invasion at Yi Province, while allowing Liu Bei to escape unlocks the Pacification of Nanzhong. There is a treasure trove at the near Cao Cao's main camp being guarded by Kenshin Uesugi.

Runan returns in Dynasty Warriors 8 as a hypothetical stage for Wu's Story Mode. This battle has the Wu forces attack Sima Yi within the castle. Players are forced to overcome various traps as well as the combined might of Zhang Chunhua and Wang Yuanji before they can proceed towards the enemy commander. The stage is also filled with wind generators and pyrocannons. In Wei's scenario, all allied generals will be separated and attacked by the Wu strategists, and must be rescued. Once Lu Meng, Lu Xun, and Lu Su are all defeated, Zhou Yu arrives with the officers from Xinye, and the objective changes to defeat him instead. Defeating Zhou Yu will end the stage.

A new hypothetical scenario is included in the expansion of the Others story. In this version, the sorcerers Zhang Jiao and Zuo Ci, both hypothetically affiliated with Shu, cooperate in saving Liu Bei's surrounded army from the Wei forces. In Cao Cao's side of the battle, Zhang Jiao and Zuo Ci have already rescued Liu Bei, and have isolated many of Cao Cao's generals throughout the battlefield. As the necessity to save the isolated commanders grows, Yellow Turban reinforcements arrive to attack the main camp. As more generals are saved, the two sorcerers begin conjuring up phantom soldiers, and need to be defeated to dispel the magic. Upon reaching Liu Bei's camp, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei charge out to attack Cao Cao's camp. Defeating Liu Bei ends the stage.

In the Xtreme Legends expansion, Runan reappears in name while using the map of Ruxukou. In Wu's story, Yuan Shu, and the Sun family decide to attack Runan during Cao Cao's absence. The battle first starts with the allied army taking the central area, but it is soon revealed to be a trap of Guo Jia, and Yue Jin and Li Dian ambush Yuan Shu's troops, and raise the central drawbridge. After the ambush, Guo Jia will send troops to take the rear path to attack Yuan Shu's camp, but Zhou Yu predicts this suspicious movements, and moves to counter before the Wei forces can act. Once all the traps have been overcome, Guo Jia will finally activate siege weapons to stall the Wu army, but he is defeated. After Xiahou Dun's defeat, Cao Cao will arrive as late reinforcements. Defeating Cao Cao will end the stage. In Cao Cao's side of the battle, the starting location is instead among Cao Cao's reinforcements, and they must first save Xiahou Dun from Zhou Tai and Sun Shangxiang. After the pair's defeat, the Wu forces launch an ambush in the central area, and attack the Wei army with siege weapons. Once both traps are defeated, Cao Cao will order the final charge against Yuan Shu. Defeating Yuan Shu ends the stage.


Kessen II discards Liu Bei's servitude to Yuan Shao completely, and the battle is devoted to his own forces. He desires to take the capital away from Cao Cao as he is busy dealing with Yuan Shao in the north. The map is centered on two bridged areas to connect the forces. A mountain range creates a dramatic wedge between the western and eastern forces.

Shu's version of the stage has Liu Bei and company attack Cao Cao's remaining forces lead by Xun Yu. She orders the enemies in the north, and Liu Bei's objective is to defeat her. The strategies for this battle has either Zhang Fei or Zhao Yun volunteer to act as the diversion in the west. Zhao Yun's path is likely the safer path of action since Zhang Fei may become susceptible to Yu Jin's sleeping potion plot. Zhou Cang arrives with his own army to reinforce the attack on the east. On Normal difficulty, Liu Bei and the others can then overwhelm Xun Yu as she charges from the east. Harder difficulties will instead have her blow up the eastern bridge, forcing all armies to funnel through the western path.

Cao Cao decides to have Xiahou Yuan take his place in the north during Wei's version of the map and leads the march at Ru Nan himself. Again, Yu Jin may plan to put Zhang Fei's army to sleep or Xun Yu may choose to destroy the eastern bridge. Yu Jin's plot may have a chance of failing since he may be caught red-handed by Zhang Fei. The player will then have to make do with whatever forces they have to rescue him. If it succeeds, Zhang Fei will momentarily be stunted in the west to create an opening for the Wei army in the east. Xun Yu's plan forces the entire Shu army to charge along the crowded mountain path. The Wei generals may either greet them at the path or surround them as they try to cross the upper western bridge.

Historical Information[]

The conflict around Runan has its roots stem from the Yellow Turban Rebellion. The Yellow Turbans of the area, Liu Pi, He Yi, Gong Du and others had rioted against the government powers. Building their influence within the territory, they sought to conspire with Yuan Shu and Sun Ce. The Runan Commandery remained largely in their control and was never completely pacified.

During the early months of the year 200, Cao Cao sought to make the area his own and led his forces to subjugate the lot. Liu Pi and company supposedly evaded capture and rebelled against Cao Cao in the southern provinces during the Battle of Guandu. Yuan Shao decided to throw in his lot with the rebels, ordering Liu Bei to support their revolt. Together they took several provinces and devastated the territory surrounding Xuchang. Cao Cao was weary of their progress and feared their rapid success. Cao Ren claimed there was merit in patience and bid his lord to continue his current status in the north. He and his cavalrymen then privately repelled Liu Bei and the southern rebels. A majority of the Yellow Turbans participating in the revolt either disappear from history or were said to have been killed in action.

Cao Ren's advance gradually had the conquered provinces back within Cao Cao's influence. However, Yuan Shao still wanted to take Runan and ordered Liu Bei to attack the area again. Liu Bei collaborated with Gong Du in their bid to retake the south and were armed with several thousands of troops. This time, it was Cai Yong who attempted to protect Cao Cao's lands. However, Cai Yong was overwhelmed and was killed in battle. Cai Yong's death led to Liu Bei advancing through a different path southward in Yuzhou. According to Record of the Three Kingdoms, several residents within Runan graciously accepted the offer to surrender to Yuan Shao.

While the forces were locked in a stalemate within the area, Xun Yu's plan of ravaging Yuan Shao's supply line ultimately rendered Yuan Shao's progress invalid. As Yuan Shao's forces suffered defeat, Liu Bei led his own army from Runan to oppose Cao Cao. His forces were swiftly beaten, which led to Liu Bei parting ways with the Yuan family and seeking refuge with Liu Biao in Jingzhou.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]


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