Koei Wiki
Yuan Shu
Dynasty Warriors 9 artwork
Character Information
Force(s): Han
Yuan Shu's Forces
170 cm (5'7")
Weapon Type: Rapier
Significant Battle(s):
Playable Debut: Dynasty Warriors 9
Historical Information
Real name:
Yuán Shù
Chinese name:
袁術 - 袁术
Style name:
Chinese name:

Yuan Shu (onyomi: En Jutsu) was the younger half-brother of Yuan Shao and a powerful warlord, known for his rather condescending personality. After Dong Zhuo's demise, he declared himself emperor due to bargaining with Sun Ce for the imperial seal that his late father Sun Jian had found, and attempted to create the short-lived Zhong Dynasty. In doing so however, he was subsequently branded as a traitor to the Han, and eventually was brought down by misfortune after misfortune, which lead to his eventual death.

Before his playable debut, he has been a generic officer since the second title. He placed ninth with fans in Gamecity's Shin Sangoku Musou Blast first card promotion poll.

Role in Games[]

"Yuan Shu, you're running away? Just what did you come for in the first place?"
Lu Bu; Dynasty Warriors 6

Dynasty Warriors[]

In all of his portrayals, Yuan Shu is depicted as a deceitful, close-minded, foolish man. Like his brother, Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu is infamous for his family name but is overconfident because of it. Keeping true to the events in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Yuan Shu is assigned to reinforce Sun Jian at the Battle of Sishui Gate. Unfortunately for Sun Jian, he does not always give him back-up out of jealousy, forcing the general to retreat.

In Dynasty Warriors 4, he has a small role, although he does have a unique character model for a cutscene in which he is appointed support for Sun Jian by Yuan Shao. Sun Jian tells him that he is counting on him, and when he leaves, Yuan Shu tells him that he won't be so smug for long. He looks like a regular Hero generic outside of cutscenes however. He refuses to give Sun Jian the supply convoy at Sishui Gate, but this supply problem can be fixed if Fan Chou's supply depot is captured as soon as possible before Sun Jian's morale dwindles even further. His other appearance is in Jiang Dong, where he refuses to forsake his friend Liu Xun and holds off Sun Ce's army as Liu Xun retreats from Huan Castle. In Lu Bu's story he can assist in the defense of Xia Pi, and the former's personal campaign against Cao Cao.

After Sun Ce gives Yuan Shu the Imperial Seal in exchange for troops, Yuan Shu declares himself Emperor. In Dynasty Warriors 6, Yuan Shu appears with his army at the Battle of Xia Pi, the Conquest of Wu and its clone stage, "Campaign Against Yuan Shu", claiming that the land of Wu is his own land. With the combined forces of Sun Ce and Liu Bei, Yuan Shu is defeated. In the former, he appears as reinforcements for Liu Yong, Wang Lang, and Yan Baihu's armies, in the latter, he is the enemy commander and his officers come as reinforcements to defend "the Emperor".

In Dynasty Warriors 7, Yuan Shu is in charge of the supply depot at Hulao Gate. Sun Jian's men complain about not receiving supplies, implying that Yuan Shu might be neglecting his duty. Shortly after this, the player gets noted that Yuan Shu is attacked by Dong Zhuo's men and has to rescue him. Once the player enters the supply depot, Yuan Shu comments about his allies thinking that he would not do his job right. When the base is cleared, Yuan Shu will resume the sending of supplies and the morale of Sun Jian's troops increases greatly. He later appears in Wu's story at Shouchun. Sun Ce unites with Cao Cao and Liu Bei in order to defeat Yuan Shu after he declared himself Emperor. After Shouchun's gates are breached, Yuan Shu seemingly disappears from the city, only to reappear outside of it and trying to escape the battlefield. Halfway through his escape, however, his generals Chen Lan and Lei Bo rebel against their master and block his path, buying the coalition enough time to intercept and kill Yuan Shu.

Yuan Shu makes his first appearance during the second chapter of Dynasty Warriors Next. While not specifically mentioned, his returning jealousy is implied to be the reason why Sun Jian is forced to take the enemy's own provisions at Sishui Gate. He serves as the final antagonist of the third chapter, using the seal given to him by Sun Ce to declare himself emperor much to the other warlords' disgust. His entire army clashes against them at Hefei, resulting in his death at their hands.

During the eighth installment, he reprises his role from the previous titles as well as helping Lu Bu at Xiapi, though his battles against Liu Bei and Sun Ce are no longer included in the story.

In Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, however, he plays a much larger role. During Lu Bu's story, his role varies depending upon whether the player takes the hypothetical path or not; in the historical path, Lu Bu assists Liu Bei in fighting Yuan Shu at Shouchun, then negotiates a truce between Liu and Yuan by shooting the tip of his halberd. During the battle, Zhang Fei, who is disobeying orders, finds and begins destroying Yuan Shu's treasures. If Zhang Fei's stopped at Shouchun, Yuan Shu will assist Lu Bu at Xiapi. In the hypothetical path, however, a dominant Lu Bu marches south, and Yuan Shu is forced to seek refuge with Sun Ce. After Lu Bu invades Wu, Yuan Shu is killed in battle, and what's left of his forces join with Sun Ce and the other allied warlords at Chang'an. Yuan Shu also features prominently in two new hypothetical battles, in Wu and Shu's storylines respectively. In Wu's, Sun Ce must protect Yuan Shu from an overwhelming attack by Cao Cao's forces, while in Shu's, he reinforces Lu Bu against the allied forces of Liu Bei and Sun Ce.

As a unique NPC in Dynasty Warriors 9, he first appears in the story as part of the coalition against Dong Zhuo and tasks the player with helping him provide supplies to Sun Jian, who is currently holed up in Yangren Castle with Huang Gai, Cheng Pu, and Han Dang as it is besieged by Dong Zhuo's troops led by Hu Zhen. After Dong Zhuo's defeat, he opposes Yuan Shao. Coveting the Imperial Seal, he conspires against Sun Jian by sending bandits to attack him and kidnapping Sun Jian's wife. When he is cornered, he cowers before Sun Jian before finally coming to terms with him and bargaining for the Imperial Seal, which leads to Sun Jian's death later when he goes after Liu Biao. He later declares himself the Emperor in a desperate bid to regain support in his war against Yuan Shao, and as a result, is brought down by the forces of Sun Ce, Cao Cao, and Liu Bei.

His own personal tale starts with the Ten Eunuchs rebellion near Luoyang where he and his half-brother Shao, are joined by what they perceive to be as the lowly Cao Cao and Yuan Shu decides to help subjugate the ringleader Zhang Rang. Along the way, he helps the peasants out for information on the eunuchs and is marred by Yuan Shao's frontal assault with his ignorance on flanking and surrounding the eunuchs, something to which Yuan Shu is successfully able to do. After the battle, Dong Zhuo rises to power and a coalition is elected. Despite Yuan Shu's plotting, he is soon informed by Ji Ling that Yuan Shao is nominated as the leader of the coalition instead, leaving him very irate.

During the campaign at Hulao Gate, however, his version is different to the main campaign depicted in the game, as his forces are more isolated in the south from everyone else in the coalition, with Yuan Shu wanting his forces to claim glory without the coalition getting in the way. The player can help the coalition if they so wish, but his refusal to properly administer supplies to Sun Jian and the rest of the Coalition's forces render them unable to follow his wish to pursue Dong Zhuo to Chang'an. After Dong Zhuo's death, Yuan Shu, having had enough of Yuan Shao's influence, is driven to attack his ally, Liu Biao, at Xiangyang. Helping the campaign against Liu Biao, he is shocked and somewhat frustrated to learn of Sun Jian's death during the campaign with Sun Ce now taking charge of his father's forces.

Although he still wishes to continue fighting Yuan Shao, his allies, Tao Qian and Gongsun Zan are both defeated by Cao Cao and Yuan Shao respectively, leaving any further resistance futile, and he is forced to retreat at Kuangting from Cao Cao's men. As soon as their retreat is completed, he throws a banquet for his officials. After the party, a man thanks Yuan Shu, but Yuan Shu notices that the man's child had not eaten the orange that the warlord had given. Ji Ling then snaps at the child for disobeying Yuan Shu's command, but Yuan Shu instead praises the child for his filial piety and tells his subordinate to not be angry.

With the loss of both Tao Qian and Gongsun Zan, Yuan Shu's forces are strained of allies and territory. Sun Ce and Zhou Yu both advise Yuan Shu to attack Xu Province, which was recently taken over by Liu Bei after Tao Qian's passing, while they attack both Yang Province and Jiangdong. As a barter for the troops that they need, Yuan Shu takes the Imperial Seal and leaves to fight Liu Bei.

His time conquering Xu Province is short-lived as Lu Bu's forces take advantage of the fighting between both sides to stake their own claim. With his men unable to continue the fight, Yuan Shu begrudgingly withdraws. When he returns to Shouchun, Zhou Yu and Sun Ce both report their successful campaign at the lands of Wu. Rather than enjoy the success, Yuan Shu becomes filled with even more envy as Sun Ce now has much larger territory than him. Fueled by his repeated defeats and the rise of lower officials such as both Cao Cao and Sun Ce, Yuan Shu declares himself emperor using the Imperial Seal, despite Sun Ce and Zhou Yu's warnings that doing so would mark him as a traitor to Emperor Xian and the Han.

In response, a large coalition led by Yuan Shao, Sun Ce, and Cao Cao come for his head at Shouchun under Emperor Xian's orders to eliminate him for high treason, with his forces quickly depleting and the likes of Chen Lan and Lei Bo deserting as well with their forces, causing Yuan Shu to stop fighting and simply trying to survive. Ji Ling and many other loyal officers like Liang Gang and Qiao Rui die helping their lord escape the wrath of his enemies, and a fatigued Yuan Shu desperately heads to Xiapi for shelter. Chen Gong questions why should they give the country's most hated person refuge, to which Yuan Shu responds that they owe him for his previous actions. Eventually a one-night deal is agreed with Yuan Shu remaining a broken man. By his ending, he is deathly ill and is unable to get honey water for himself, with Sun Ce paying him a more friendly and final visit, handing him an orange from the father at Kuangting. Tearfully eating the orange, Yuan Shu admits that the fruit tastes better than honey water.

Warriors Orochi[]

Yuan Shu appears as one of the vanguard leaders serving Orochi at the Battle of Jie Ting in the first game. In the sequel, he yet again serves on the front lines, but this time for Yuan Shao at the Battle of Shizugatake.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Within the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, Yuan Shu is depicted in a fairly poor light with none of his stats reaching the 70's mark while his Politics stat ranks among the worst in the series being in the middling 10's. Early scenarios will see him as an officer of He Jin before forming his own faction at Wan during the Anti-Dong Zhuo Coalition before moving to Shouchun after his defeat at Kuangting by Cao Cao's forces. In later scenarios, due to his possession of the Imperial Seal and ascension to the position of Emperor of his own dynasty, Yuan Shu's Charisma stat is inflated to the maximum value.

Character Information[]


Suzuki stated that Yuan Shu's playable Dynasty Warriors design was modeled after his stint to being emperor. His overall design is meant to look like someone who is trying too hard to appear spectacular. His platform shoes is meant to highlight his tendency to look down on others.


His Dynasty Warriors persona is a lover of extravagance who is obsessed with his wealth and power. He governs poorly and has lost the heart of the people. He is a firm believer in his noble pedigree, even more so than Yuan Shao, and is often at odds with his relative, believing himself to be the superior man between them. His arrogance, however, is more inflated than Yuan Shao's, seeing almost everyone else to be inferior men based on their lesser births, lower rank or lack of talent in his eyes. He does not think too highly of Sun Ce, while seeing the youth as a somewhat useful vassal, but mostly as a vassal that should remain subservient to him.

Voice Actors[]

  • Tsuyoshi Takishita - Dynasty Warriors 3~8 (Japanese)
  • Eddie Frierson - Dynasty Warriors 5 (English-uncredited)
  • Michael Lindsay - Dynasty Warriors 7 (English-uncredited)
  • Spike Spencer - Dynasty Warriors 8 (English-uncredited)
  • Paul Harted - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
  • Yu Wang - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
  • Keiji Hirai - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Japanese)
  • Cho Nagyun - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
  • Takashi Ōhara - Sangokushi Legion
  • Miho Hino - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)

Live-Action Performers[]


See also: Yuan Shu/Quotes
  • "I am the Emperor! I am the land itself! You dare threaten me, you landless peasant?"
  • "I will not forsake my friend, Liu Xun! Yuan Shu does not bow to threats! We will guard Liu Xun's rear flank, follow me!"
  • "What is going on here? Why are you fighting over my land? I hold the Imperial Seal, which makes me as good as the Emperor. We will punish all who bring war and chaos to our land."
  • "You there, woman! Is the Emperor really here? Lie to me and I will show you no mercy."
"I sense that you people only mean to cause harm to him... I'm afraid I am going to have to stop you."
~~Yuan Shu and Cai Wenji; Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends
  • "First Cao Cao and now Sun Ce... Do you imbeciles not realize that I am the Emperor?"
"One as weak as yourself has no right to rule. You are blocking my path to conquest and therefore must be slain!"
~~Yuan Shu and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors Next
  • "If I had the Imperial Seal, the realm would be forced to do as I say. I must get my hands on it."
"That is the Emperor's seal. If someone unworthy were to use it, it would be the end of them."
"Hahahaha! You've got no guts! If you find it, bring it to me. I will take charge of it."
"Hmm... This is the one man I will definitely not give it to."
~~Yuan Shu and Sun Jian; Dynasty Warriors 8




Keys: Square Flow Attack • Triangle Reactive Attack • Circle Musou X Jump/Mount

Yuan Shu is affiliated with the rapier in this appearance.

Unique Flow Attack:
Unique Trigger Attack (R1 + ):
Special Technique (R1 + Circle):
Musou (Circle):
Aerial Musou (X + Circle):

Historical Information[]

Yuan Shu was from Runan in Yu Province. He was the son of Yuan Feng, younger brother of Yuan Ji and younger half-brother of Yuan Shao, although the Sanguozhi and Hou Han Shu falsely claim that he was actually Yuan Shao's younger cousin and adopted by Yuan Feng. The fact that Yuan Shao's mother was just a maid (or was Yuan Cheng's son instead), unlike Yuan Shu's mother who was a higher ranked concubine, would later be used by Yuan Shu to belittle his half-brother's status and insult him, on top of Yuan Shao's already-rough childhood.

In his youth, Yuan Shu was known for his gallantry and hunting skills. He was nominated Filial and Incorrupt and became Intendant of Henan Commandery before being promoted to the rank of General. In 189, Yuan Shu and Yuan Shao urged He Jin to destroy the powerful eunuch faction in the court, which led to chaos in the capital and He Jin's death. The Yuan brothers led their troops into the capital and massacred the eunuchs before Dong Zhuo entered Luoyang and seized control. Yuan Shu was appointed General of the Rear, but he fled to Nanyang in Jing Province. He was joined by Sun Jian, who had killed the Grand Administrator Zhang Zi, allowing Yuan Shu to take up this post. He appointed Sun Jian as Inspector of Yu Province. The Sanguozhi describes Yuan Shu's rule in Nanyang as despotic.

In 190, Yuan Shu joined the coalition against Dong Zhuo, leading to the deaths of many of his family members in the capital. Sun Jian achieved much success in the campaign, defeating Dong Zhuo's forces at Yangren. One of Yuan Shu's advisors warned him that if Sun Jian took the capital, he would be uncontrollable. Yuan Shu thus stopped to send Sun Jian supplies. The latter rode during the night from Yangren to Yuan Shu's headquarters in Luyang and convinced Yuan Shu of his loyalty. Yuan Shu was ashamed and immediately continued to supply Sun Jian. Dong Zhuo eventually fled and moved the capital to Chang'an, causing the coalition to disband.

In the following years, two great power blocks emerged within the Central Plains. One was headed by Yuan Shao, who was supported by Liu Biao and Cao Cao among others, while the other one was led by Yuan Shu, who allied with Gongsun Zan and Tao Qian. Yuan Shao appointed his vassal Zhou Yu (周喁) as Inspector of Yu Province and tasked him to attack Yuan Shu at Yangcheng. Yuan Shu sent Sun Jian to deal with him and was aided by Gongsun Zan. Despite the death of Gongsun Yue, Yuan Shu's forces emerged victorious. Following the victory, Yuan Shu sent Sun Jian south to attack Liu Biao. At Xiangyang, Sun Jian fell into an ambush and was killed. His nephew Sun Ben led the remnant forces back to Yuan Shu.

Around 192, the people of Nanyang had become increasingly displeased with Yuan Shu's rule. As a result, Yuan Shu was forced to move to Chenliu Commandery in Yan Province, leading to several conflicts between him and Cao Cao. In 193, Yuan Shu was defeated at Kuangting and Fengqiu, causing him to withdraw to the east. Following defeats at Xiangyi and Ningling, Yuan Shu escaped to Jiujiang Commandery in Yang Province. Cao Cao pursued Yuan Shu for some time before he withdrew to Dingtao.

In Jiujiang, Yuan Shu attacked the Inspector of Yang Province Chen Wen at Shouchun and defeated him. Chen Wen fled and died of illness, upon which Yuan Shu declared himself Inspector of Yang Province and Lord of Xu Province. Furthermore, he was appointed as General of Left and enfeoffed. During the following year, Yuan Shu sent Sun Ben and Wu Jing to attack his rival Liu Yao across the Yangtze, but the two generals were unable to make any gains. In 195, he sent Sun Ce to deal with Liu Yao, while he himself turned his attention north to Xu Province. Tao Qian was succeeded by Liu Bei and fought against Lu Bu. Yuan Shu sent Ji Ling to attack Liu Bei, but the two forces entered a stalemate. Xu eventually fell to Lu Bu and Yuan Shu withdrew his forces.

In 197, Yuan Shu besieged Lu Bu at Xiapi, but was unable to capture the city and withdrew after internal betrayals. Being in possession of the Imperial Seal, Yuan Shu declared himself emperor of the Zhong Dynasty. It is generally agreed upon that Yuan Shu received the seal from Sun Jian after the latter had found it in the ruins of Luoyang, but Wei Zhao argues in the Book of Wu that he used Sun Jian's widow Lady Wu as a hostage to gain the seal from Sun Ce. Yuan Shu claimed the throne for various reasons. For one, he saw the Han government as inept as it was controlled by Cao Cao. He also relied on superstitious accounts and prophecies, as well as his status as the head of one of the most famous and achieved families in the country. However, the move proved to be a political blunder. He quickly became the major target of the surrounding warlords and Sun Ce, who had conquered Yang Province by that time, used his influence in the area to cut his ties with Yuan Shu, causing Yuan Shu to lose much of his territory, leaving him only with the commanderies of Jiujiang and Lujiang. Later that year, he had lost all of his holdings north of the Huai river to Cao Cao.

Yuan Shu was able to gain Lu Bu's support eventually through the planned marriage of his son Yuan Yao with Lu Bu's daughter, but the latter was attacked and defeated at Xiapi by the combined forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei in 198. Droughts and bad harvests caused Yuan Shu's power to decline even more and he was constantly attacked by Cao Cao at Shouchun. Yuan Shu and his remaining men attempted to escape north into Yuan Shao's territory, but their path was cut off by Liu Bei's troops. Yuan Shu returned to Shouchun and died of illness in 199. His general Zhang Xun and advisor Yang Hong took his family and moved them south to Liu Xun in Lujiang, but they were all taken hostage by the latter. Sun Ce led his forces to defeat Liu Xun and Yuan Shu's family was freed. Yuan Yao would be treated well by Sun Quan, who would also marry Yuan Shu's daughter later.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Yuan Shu first appears in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms in chapter 5 as one of the leaders of the Anti-Dong Zhou Coalition. He was appointed by his older half-brother Yuan Shao as the commander over the grain supplies. In the same chapter, he followed the advice of an unnamed adviser and denied Sun Jian much needed supplies, leading to the latter's defeat. In chapter 6, Sun Jian threatened him for such an action and to appease his fellow warlord, Yuan Shu executed the adviser who suggested denying Sun Jian in the first place.

In chapter 7, after the Coalition fell apart, Yuan Shu sought both troops from Yuan Shao and supplies from Liu Biao, being denied on both accounts. Infuriated, Yuan Shu incited Sun Jian against Liu Biao for revenge.

Yuan Shu returned in chapter 14 as the scapegoat needed to draw Liu Bei out from Xuzhou so Cao Cao could break up Liu Bei and Lu Bu's alliance. Yuan Shu easily survived Liu Bei's attack, as Lu Bu claimed Xuzhou almost immediately after Liu Bei left it.

In Chapter 15, Yuan Shu had Sun Ce under his command. When Ce approached him about borrowing men, Yuan Shu accepted the deal only when Sun Ce yielded the Imperial Seal.

Chapter 16 has Yuan Shu seek revenge against Liu Bei for his earlier attack, causing him to seek help from Lu Bu. Yuan Shu sent Ji Ling as the leader of this army, which was sent home in disgrace without any major fighting. After this defeat, Yuan Shu tried to negotiate a truce through marriage of his son to Lu Bu's daughter. Although initially successful, Lu Bu ultimately took his daughter back before she reached Yuan Shu's lands.

Chapter 17 opens with Yuan Shu declaring himself emperor. He immediately set out for revenge against Lu Bu, but was repelled by him due to the treachery of Yang Feng and Han Xian and the timely assistance of Liu Bei. After this defeat, Yuan Shu found himself under assault by Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Ce all at once, causing him to flee his new capital, which was ransacked and destroyed after the month long siege.

Chapter 21 marks Yuan Shu's last appearance in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In a desperate attempt to save himself, now down most of his officers and army, Yuan Shu promised his half-brother the imperial seal if he helped him. Not wanting such an alliance, Cao Cao assigned Liu Bei to guard the route between the two Yuans. When he tried to pass, Liu Bei drove him off, where he hid in shame, dying shortly after asking his cook for honeyed water, due to the remaining food in his camp being uneatable.