|Game:||Total War: Three Kingdoms|
|Starting Faction:||The Kong Clan of Beihai|
|Title:||Minister Steward Palace Counselor|
Kong Rong is one of the 12 playable starting warlords in the Total War: Three Kingdoms grand campaign.
Born in 153AD in what was once the ancient state of Lu, somewhere in Yan Province, Kong Rong was said to be a 20th generation descendant of Kong Qiu, also known as Kong Fuzi or Confucius. As a ten year old, he won a debate with a scholar in the capitol and a few years later he gained fame among the anti-eunuch faction by sheltering a reformist during a purge. After entering the civil service, Kong Rong continued as an advocate for reform and was successful in getting numerous corrupt officials dismissed. However, his personality and lack of respect for authority gained him many enemies, including General in Chief He Jin and the Director of the Secretariat Zhao She. Despite this, his talents eventually got him military commission during the Yellow Turban Rebellion, eventually rising to become General of the Gentlemen of the Household (the imperial guards).
When Dong Zhuo overthrew the government, Kong Rong was one of his most vocal critics, despite having essentially no power. However, he survived on reputation alone, and was eventually made Chancellor of Beihai to get him out of the capitol. Unfortunately for him, whatever talent he had as a scholar proved counterproductive as an administrator. His government was often ineffectual and inconsistent, and he seemed to be more interested in running Beihai as a philosophical experiment than as an actual imperial commandery. His own inflated sense of self-worth gained him visits from many famous men, but few of them could get along with him, and many of the locals grew to resent his pretentious self-aggrandizement.
The chaos surrounding Qing province eventually forced him to enter warlord politics. Invasions from both Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao, a secessionist state under Gongsun Du in Donglai, and a resurgent Yellow Turban problem prompted him to join under the banner of Tao Qian, Inspector of Xu, which also aligned him with Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shu. Tao Qian had his own problems brewing with Cao Cao however, so he was unable to help Kong Rong when he was besieged by Yellow Turban remnants under Guan Hai in Duchang County. Taishi Ci, a somewhat famous local who owed Kong Rong a debt for helping his mother, went to get Liu Bei (a subordinate of Gongsun Zan at the time), who was camped nearby. Liu Bei attacked and dispersed the rebels, and Kong Rong later repaid him by supporting him as Tao Qian's successor after the latter's death. However, Taishi Ci did not stay in Beihai, and Kong Rong's alliance with Gongsun Zan turned against him when Yuan Shao sent his son Yuan Tan to secure Qing. Since Gongsun Zan's forces in the area had already been defeated and Liu Bei had recently been overthrown by Lu Bu, Kong Rong had no allies and was eventually defeated by Yuan Tan, seemingly with little difficulty.
Kong Rong fled to Xu city, the base of Cao Cao, who was always looking for more talent to join his burgeoning state. Kong Rong was made Court Architect and eventually Minister Steward, the minister in charge of taking care of the Emperor. Kong Rong certainly had the skills to serve in the imperial hierarchy, and he quickly made a name for himself as an excellent patron, but his troubles with authority began manifesting themselves. He frequently inserted himself into matters of law and protocol, and was particularly critical of Cao Cao himself, often acting mockingly or condescendingly towards him. The pinnacle of all of this was when Kong Rong told Cao Cao he should resign and retire after his victory at Mount Bailang in 207. One of Kong Rong's enemies took that opportunity to accuse him of a crime, and Cao Cao had him removed from office and sent home, warning him against future instigation. He was allowed to return as a Palace Counselor (an official advisor) the next year, but Kong Rong couldn't leave well enough alone, his rival accused him of treason, and he was executed along with his family in 208AD.
Kong Rong starts as friends with Liu Bei, whom he fought alongside in the Romance.
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