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Yuan Tan
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XII~XIV portrait
Character Information
Force(s): Yuan Shao's Forces
Yuan Tan's Forces
Weapon Type: Sword (2~5, 7~8)
Polearm (6)
Unit Type: Hero (2~4)
Warrior (5)
Large Warrior (6)
Strategist (7~8)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 2
Historical Information
Real name:
Yuán Tán
Chinese name:
袁譚 - 袁谭
Style name:
Chinese name:

Yuan Tan (onyomi: En Tan) is Yuan Shao's eldest son and governor of Qing Province. After his father chooses Yuan Shang as heir, he begins to fight with him over succession. This leads to the eventual demise of the Yuan family.

Role in Games[]

In Dynasty Warriors 4, at the battle of Ji Province, he feels that he will be the right man to replace his father, as suggested by Guo Tu and Xin Ping. Once Yuan Xi is out of the picture, Cao Cao can decide which brother will help him. When he picks Yuan Tan, the elder brother begins to hate his brother then starts his attack under Cao Cao's orders. Once Yuan Shao arrives to calm down his family, he berates Yuan Tan for not having pride and the father and son decide to fight Cao Cao head on.

In Dynasty Warriors 6, Yuan Tan serves as the lieutenant for his father at the Battle of Hu Lao Gate. He also appears at Guan Du, being buffed up and attacking Bai Ma with Yuan Shang.

Guo Jia's legend stage in Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends revolves around the conflict between the Yuan brothers. Yuan Tan and his brothers face Cao Cao at Liyang to stop his advance north. If the player defeats Yuan Xi quickly, both he and Yuan Shang start to squabble about who should attack Cao Cao's forces first. If Yuan Shang is defeated next, Yuan Tan will realize that they had fought over nothing and begins to charge Cao Cao's forces with his retainers.

In Dynasty Warriors 8, Yuan Tan appears in all versions of the Guandu battle, serving as the allied commander in Yuan Shao's stage additionally. He and his brothers serve as the enemy commanders at Mt. Bailang in Wei's story. If the player follows Guo Jia's plan and attacks and kills Yuan Tan from behind, Yuan Xi can be lured out and the Yuan brothers can be taken care of one at a time.

In Warriors Orochi 3, Yuan Tan will appear as the replacement officer for his father should the player assume his father's role.

Yuan Tan appears as an average officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. His battle skills are around the 60's, while his other stats range much lower. He serves his father Yuan Shao's in most scenarios. In the Power-Up Kit expansion, Yuan Tan rules his own force in the "Chaos in the Yuan Family" scenario, opposing his younger brother. It also adds an event revolving around Yuan Shao's death, in which Yuan Shang will be chosen as successor. Yuan Tan, in turn, rebels in Qing Province and creates his own force.

Voice Actors[]

  • Yoshiya Naruke - Sangokushi Legion
  • Yūichi Karasuma - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)


  • "I am Yuan Tan, rightful heir to the Yuan legacy!"
  • "Ahh... Tan, Shang... It's about time! Now come at help me teach this enemy a lesson!"
"Leave it to me, father. I will cut him down personally!"
"No, this is too great a task to ask of one so young and unskilled. As the oldest, it is my duty to defeat the enemy!"
"Brother, you seem intent on taking all the glory for yourself. Could it be you fear I am father's rightful heir?
~~Yuan Shao, Yuan Shang, and Yuan Tan at the Battle of He Bei; Dynasty Warriors 6
  • "No... the Yuan family will be destroyed... This can't be! These commoners are not fit to rule the land..."
~~Yuan Tan; Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends
  • "W-What? The enemy has attacked us from behind? Remain calm! Hold your formations!"
~~Yuan Tan; Dynasty Warriors 8

Historical Information[]

Yuan Tan was the first son of Yuan Shao. After his father had conquered Ji Province, Yuan Tan was sent to station himself in Pingyuan. In 196, he attacked the governor Kong Rong and defeated him, conquering most of Qing Province. Shortly afterwards, he also defeated Gongsun Zan's general Tian Kai, who was appointed as Inspector of Qing Province by Gongsun Zan, conquering the whole province. Yuan Tan was welcomed by the common people. Although he showed good military skill, he proved to be incompetent in civil affairs when he appointed corrupt ministers who plundered the countryside and accepted bribery.

In 200, after having unified Hebei, Yuan Shao declared war on Cao Cao and moved his forces south. Yuan Tan was unable to reinforce his father due to constant attacks by Cao Cao's general Zang Ba at Qing's borders and Yuan Shao was eventually defeated at Guandu. Yuan Shao returned to Ye and fell sick. In 202, Yuan Shao died without having appointed an heir. Many officials supported Yuan Tan as heir, but Yuan Shao's influential ministers Shen Pei and Feng Ji favored Yuan Shang instead. Yuan Tan returned to Ye, but when he arrived, he could only take his father's former title "General of Chariots and Cavalry".

In autumn, Cao Cao led an offensive against the Yuan brothers. Yuan Tan allied with his brother and camped at Liyang. When his request for more troops was turned down, Yuan Shang came to Liyang himself and they fought Cao Cao for numerous months until they were defeated and forced to withdraw. At the advise of Guo Jia, Cao Cao withdrew his troops to fight Liu Biao and the two Yuan brothers began to fight each other, as Guo Jia had predicted. Yuan Tan was defeated in the initial conflicts, so he requested an alliance with Cao Cao to fight his younger brother. Cao Cao accepted the proposal, seeing an opportunity to weaken the Yuan brothers to defeat them eventually.

Yuan Tan contacted two of his former generals who had surrendered to Cao Cao and tried to get them to defect, but the plan was discovered by Cao Cao. Cao Cao, however, offered to marry one of his daughters to Yuan Tan. Soon afterwards, Yuan Shang led an army to attack Yuan Tan in Qing Province. However, he retreated once he heard about Cao Cao's attack on his capital in Ye. Yuan Shang suffered a huge defeat and lost Ji Province to Cao Cao, fleeing to his brother Yuan Xi in You Province. On his way, Yuan Tan attacked Yuan Shang and absorbed most of his forces.

With his new troops, Yuan Tan attacked and conquered most of eastern Ji Province, effectively violating his alliance with Cao Cao. In 205, Cao Cao turned his forces against Yuan Tan and conquered Qing Province. Yuan Tan fled to Nanpi, where he was besieged by Cao Cao. He requested reinforcements from the Wuhuan tribes, but Cao Cao's general Qian Zhao persuaded them to refuse Yuan Tan's request. Yuan Tan finally clashed with Cao Cao's forces at Nanpi and both sides suffered heavy casualties. When Cao Cao considered retreat, Cao Chun dissuaded him and Cao Cao continued to press the attack. Yuan Tan's army was routed and Yuan Tan himself fell from his horse while fleeing. In a desperate attempt to save his life, Yuan Tan turned to the enemies and pled: "Tut! Spare me, I can make you wealthy!" However, before he could finish his words, Yuan Tan was killed by Cao Chun's men and Nanpi fell to Cao Cao's forces.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

In the novel, Yuan Tan makes his first appearance in chapter 24, where he was introduced as the governor of Qing Province. He accepted the fleeing Liu Bei and gave him an escort on his way to his father Yuan Shao. In chapter 30 at Guandu, Yuan Tan was sent by his father with 50,000 troops to rescue Yejun after Cao Cao spread rumors that he would attack the city. After his father's death, he and Yuan Shang teamed up to defeat Cao Cao at Liyang, but they were defeated. Cao Cao withdrew and Yuan Tan started to fight with his brother over succession. He eventually allied with Cao Cao and they drove Yuan Shang out of Ji Province. However, after he started to pillage Cao Cao's counties in Ji, Cao Cao began to fight him.

Yuan Tan abandoned Pingyuan after Liu Biao refused to help him and fought Cao Cao at Nanpi. He sent Xin Ping to arrange for surrender, but Cao Cao refused and sent Xin Ping back. Yuan Tan became enraged and accused Xin Ping of betrayal since his brother Xin Pi served under Cao Cao. Xin Ping felt so ashamed that he died shortly afterwards, with Yuan Tan regretting what he did. He and Guo Tu gathered the civilians in the city and the next day, forced them to fight Cao Cao's forces. Yuan Tan was eventually defeated. He was then challenged to a duel by Cao Hong and accepted, but after a few bouts, he was killed. Guo Tu tried a last defense against Cao Cao, but he was shot down by Yue Jin's archers and Nanpi fell.