Zhu Ling
Zhu Ling (DWB)
Character Information
Force(s): Yuan Shao's Forces
Weapon Type: Spear (3)
Sword (4~6)
Club (7)
Great sword (8)
General's sword (Blast)
Unit Type: Warrior (3~5, 7~8)
Hero (6)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 3
Historical Information
Real name:
Zhū Líng
Chinese name:
朱靈 - 朱灵
Style name:
Chinese name:
Possibly died in 229.

Zhu Ling (onyomi: Shu Rei) is an officer who once served Yuan Shao. He eventually defected and decided to serve Cao Cao. Although his appearance is brief in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he historically lived to continue serving Cao Pi and often worked beside Xu Huang.

Despite being disliked by Cao Cao, Zhu Ling was known as one of the warlord's fiercest and most accomplished vassals.

Role in GamesEdit

In his first Dynasty Warriors appearance, Zhu Ling is one of the generals who appears to stop Guan Yu's escape and is a subordinate general under Zhang He. He continues to appear in most titles with Xu Huang at Tong Gate to block Ma Chao's march. As the series progresses, he eventually leads his own unit and helps fight in the later battles by blocking Liu Bei's escape at Chang Ban and participating in Chi Bi. Zhu Ling is present in most of Wei's campaigns in Dynasty Warriors 6 as he appears as late as He Fei Castle. He also helps Liu Bei with suppressing Yuan Shu. He is a consistent general in Cao Cao's campaigns thus far in the Online adaption, but he is mostly regulated to guarding bases.

During the Warriors Orochi series, he mainly stays loyal to Wei during their time in Orochi's forces by following Cao Ren. At one point, he even assists Masamune's forces in fighting the Coalition against them.

He's also an optional general that the players can recruit in the Dynasty Tactics and Romance of the Three Kingdoms games. In the latter title, Zhu Ling is an above average general with battle skills in the 70's and his other stats around the 50's and 60's. He is usually best suited with cavalry units. He starts his service under Yuan Shao and is a general of Cao Cao and Wei later on. In the online adaption, Zhu Ling serves Wei, but he laments that he doesn't know why Cao Cao despises him while greeting players.


  • "A good strategist is worth 10,000 men. That's how important they are to the outcome of a battle."

Historical InformationEdit

Zhu Ling originated from Qinghe, Yu Prefecture. His son was Zhu Shu (朱術).

He started his career as a general under Yuan Shao. When Ji Yong rebelled in the Yu Prefecture, Zhu Ling was ordered to deal with him before the instigator was saved by Gongsun Zan. He was in the midst of defeating Ji Yong when Gongsun Zan's army took Zhu Ling's mother and younger brother hostage, desiring to use his relatives to force their enemy to defect. Weeping with a tear streaked face, Zhu Ling replied, "Gentlemen, why should a person who has left their home bother to glance back at it?" He continued to take Yucheng by force and successfully captured Ji Yong alive. His imprisoned family was taken away and killed.

While Cao Cao subjugated Tao Qian, Zhu Ling was ordered by his master to lead three divisions to support him. Praised for his participation in the conflict, Yuan Shao's troops were ordered to head back. However, Zhu Ling stayed behind and said, "I have seen many people in my lifetime, but never have I seen such an aspiring lord as Master Cao. My place is here." He then offered his services to Cao Cao. His words inspired the men who served under him and they willingly followed him. He was one of the generals who were sent to deal with the weakened Yuan Shu in 199, supporting Liu Bei and Lu Zhao in taking Xuzhou. After Yuan Shu died of illness, Zhu Ling returned to his master.

In 205, Zhu Ling was assigned 5,000 soldiers and 1,000 horse riders to defend the capital as Cao Cao planned to suppress Jizhou. Since his subordinate was given charge of previous residents of Jizhou, Cao Cao was confident that his vassal would discipline their untrained recruits and immediately report any irregularities to keep track of their worth. When Zhu Ling and his new army marched into Yangzhai County, the General of the Imperial Garrison, Cheng Ang, caused a riot while at his post. Zhu Ling responded by cutting Cheng Ang down. Although he reported his fault and apologized with several prostrations, Cao Cao didn't particularly hold him accountable for any crime and didn't punish him. He compared the event to Deng Yu's life, using the past to assure and comfort Zhu Ling.

As Cao Cao commenced the subjugation of Jingzhou, Zhu Ling was among the many decorated officers named to participate in the expedition. He was assigned to serve under Zhao Yan, the Viceroy who Defends the Army. He presumably didn't fight during the conflict and it's even possible that he wasn't even there, since he is only mentioned to be present in Zhao Yan's scroll. The other likely scenario for his actions was that he could have fought beside Xu Huang and Yue Jin, but was only praised for his services and awarded no rank.

During the campaign against Ma Chao in 211, Cao Cao secretly ordered Zhu Ling and Xu Huang to march through the night and camp west of the Yellow River. Because they had taken their positions as planned, Ma Chao could not advance towards the Yellow River and Xiahou Yuan was able to suppress the Di people in the area. Early the following year, Zhu Ling and Lu Zhao joined Xiahou Yuan's army in the march at Chang'an, leading to the defeat of one of Ma Chao and Han Sui's allies, Liang Xing. Soon afterward, Cao Cao ordered an army to attack Zhang Lu. Zhang He and his troops were ordered to join, but they couldn't enter Hanzhong since several Di rioters prevented their march. Zhu Ling came to Zhang He's assistance and they wiped them out together. He followed Zhang He and Xu Huang into Hanzhong yet they suffered defeat when Xiahou Yuan was killed by Liu Bei's army.

Around this time, Cao Cao developed a grudge towards Zhu Ling. The reasons why are not clearly stated, but many believe that it was because Cao Cao blamed Zhu Ling for not saving Xiahou Yuan from danger when he needed help the most. Cao Cao wanted to somehow confiscate Zhu Ling's power over his troops so he ordered Yu Jin to lead several dozen horsemen to surround Zhu Ling's encampment. Zhu Ling raised his men in alarm, but he was frightened by the utter dignity he saw in Yu Jin and didn't resist. Instead, he submitted to the brave general and agreed to become Yu Jin's subordinate. He followed his new superior and Cao Ren to Fan Castle and was one of the many trapped by Guan Yu's water attack.

According to the Wen Di Ji Jie (文帝紀集解), his services in several pivotal battles gave him a reputation that echoed or was equal to Xu Huang's and he was eventually appointed as the General of the Rear. He supported the downfall of the Han Dynasty and the transfer of power to Cao Pi. When Cao Pi became Emperor, Zhu Ling was additionally given the ranks as an imperial diplomatic envoy and Marquis for the People. While he was praised by Cao Pi for helping remove the Han from power, his high reputation as a vassal is questionable since other sources have their various candidates for "valuable generals" and Zhu Ling is usually not among them. He is only listed as a reputable individual in the Wen Di Ji Jie and isn't consistently mentioned with other sources to match the greatness the record claims. In any case, when Cao Pi wanted to take Gaotang County, Zhu Ling was the one who became the honored Marquis of the area.

Roughly in the year 228 (argued as 229), Cao Xiu and Man Chong invaded Wu. Cao Xiu ventured deep into Hefei and suffered a whittling defeat. Before Cao Xiu's troops were completely routed, Zhu Ling was able to arrive in time from the north and caused the enemy to flee. Cao Xiu retreated and safely returned home. This was Zhu Ling's last mention in battle as he passed away soon after. He was given the posthumous rank of Majestic Marquis (Marquis Wei) and, in 243, he and other vassals were entombed with the ancestors of the Cao family.

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

He is briefly mentioned in chapter 21. Like his historical counterpart, he and Lu Zhao aided Liu Bei's march against Yuan Shu. After the conflict ended, Liu Bei ordered them to return to the capital. Cao Cao was infuriated that they listened to Liu Bei so obediently and ordered for their immediate execution. Xun Yu advised against the idea and, giving into his advisor's words, Cao Cao spared and forgave them.

He was given a short mention again nearly forty chapters later, as he assisted Xu Huang's troops in blocking Ma Chao's advance at River Wei. Zhu Ling performs no other deeds in the novel.


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