|Game:||Total War: Three Kingdoms|
|Starting Faction:||The Yuan Clan of Shouchun|
|Title:||General of the Left
Governor of YangMarquis of Yangzhai
Yuan Shu is one of the 12 playable starting warlords in the Total War: Three Kingdoms grand campaign.
From the prestigious Yuan family of Runan Commandery, Yu Province, Yuan Shu was the son of Yuan Feng by a concubine. He was younger than his half-brother Yuan Shao, but since Yuan Shao was the son of a servant whom had been elevated to concubine after his conception, Yuan Shu was technically higher than him in the family hierarchy. This all changed when Yuan Shao was adopted by their father's childless older brother Yuan Cheng as his heir. Suddenly, Yuan Shao was poised to become the family head, despite his lower birth, and this would drive a wedge between the two men for their entire lives.
As a child of the Yuan clan, Shu quickly entered imperial service in high positions, once as the Intendant of Henan (the capitol region) and later as the General of the Gentlemen as Rapid as Tigers (the imperial guards). He, along with Yuan Shao, were part of the military faction of General-in-Chief He Jin during the eunuch coup, and would later take part in the massacre of the eunuchs after He Jin's assassination. When Dong Zhuo arrived, he offered Yuan Shu the position of General of the Rear, but Yuan Shu instead fled south to Nanyang. The Guangdong Coalition that was made to oppose Dong Zhuo chose Yuan Shao as its leader over Yuan Shu, but he did gain a capable subordinate in the general Sun Jian, who had come up from Changsha. Despite some initial friction, Sun Jian was ultimately loyal to his patron and Yuan Shu sponsored him as Inspector of Yu Province. Sun Jian was successful in defeating Dong Zhuo and driving him from Luoyang, but the capitol was left a ruin and Dong Zhuo escaped to Chang'an with the emperor, where the coalition was incapable of following him.
The Guangdong coalition collapsed shortly thereafter. Two smaller, opposing coalitions came out of it, one lead by each of the Yuan brothers. Yuan Shu was loosely allied with Gongsun Zan, Tao Qian, Liu Yu, and his own subordinate Sun Jian, while Yuan Shao allied himself with Liu Biao and his own subordinate Cao Cao, and took over Ji province, gaining the old subordinates of Han Fu. During the clashes between the two men's alliances, Sun Jian was killed in a stroke of bad luck but Yuan Shu was able to get parts of Yu and Yang provinces under his control. There he began fighting with Cao Cao over Yan Province by allying the Heishan bandits and the exiled Chanyu of the Southern Xiongnu. However, he and his allies were defeated by Cao Cao and he was forced to abandon his holdings in Yan, Yu, and even Nanyang before finally settling in Shouchun, in northern Yang province.
Having lost against Cao Cao, Yuan Shu turned his gaze to Xu province in the northeast and to the lands of Jiangdong to the south of the Yangtze River. On the former front, he initially fought Liu Bei, but after Lu Bu seized the province, Yuan Shu first fought, then allied with him instead. On the latter front he had more success thanks to Sun Ce, the son of Sun Jian who had joined him in Shouchun. Sun Ce conquered much of Jiangdong from the many regional warlords who had been resisting Yuan Shu. These successes gave Yuan Shu enough confidence to declare a new imperial dynasty, Zhong, with himself as emperor. He used an old prophesy which he was able to tie his name to, as well as his possession of the imperial seal in order to justify this. However, his position was nowhere near as sound as he believed. the other warlords in the area joined against him, including Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. Lu Bu and Sun Ce turned against him, taking away Xu and all of Jiangdong, leaving him with only the parts of Yang that were north of the Yangtze and some of Runan. Many of his officers left him for Sun Ce or Lu Bu. In desperation, he killed the prince of Chen, Liu Chong, and annexed his lands, but all this did was provoke Cao Cao, who bordered Chen, to attack him. Yuan Shu abandoned Shouchun not long after and became an exile, dying of illness in 199AD.
Yuan Shu starts as rivals with Yuan Shao, his historical half brother.
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