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Yuan Shao was a nobleman of the Han Dynasty and a prominent figure in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He served as the leader of the coalition to eliminate the tyrant Dong Zhuo and rescue Emperor Xian. However, the coalition ultimately fell apart due to internal strife.
Following the war against Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao turned his attention to northern China, where he fought against other warlords that were vying for control over the lands. During this time, he turned down the opportunity to welcome the freed Emperor Xian into his territory, allowing the rival warlord Cao Cao to offer him refuge instead. After establishing an effective power base, Yuan Shao turned his attention south and entered war with Cao Cao.
After a number of smaller skirmishes, the two forces clashed at Guandu. The Yuan army had the advantage of vastly superior numbers, but in 200, Cao Cao's forces managed to overtake a Yuan supply depot in Wuchao. This proved to be a devastating blow to the Yuan army, which quickly lost morale, suffered defections, and was forced to retreat. Yuan Shao was able to reorganize his forces, but died in 202, before he could declare a successor. His death led to internal strife within the Yuan clan that left them vulnerable to total defeat by Cao Cao's army.
In Video Games
Yuan Shao has made regular appearances in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dynasty Warriors series, particularly in scenarios focused on the coalition against Dong Zhuo. In the Dynasty Warriors series, he is characterized as an egocentric noble who lords his high status over others while remaining oblivious to his shortcomings. In all Dynasty Warriors titles he appears in, he uses some form of sword as his primary weapon.