Ma Chao has served as an unaffiliated force for quite some time, and has called himself the "Spear of Justice" in many installments. Since he cuts a fine figure and wears excellent armor, he is sometimes called, "Ma Chao the Splendid". First allying with Pang De in the defense of Xi Liang, he made a name for being one of the Eight Riders.
In Dynasty WarriorsOnline, he is 21 years old and his height is 186 cm (a little over 6'1").
While Serving Ma Chao you will gain
(Ma Chao is not in the current Scenario)
Domestic Bonus - Technology + 10
Battle Bonus - Life + 15
Although his hair is not always seen when wearing a helmet, the producer assures that Ma Chao is not -and never has been- bald in the Dynasty Warriors series. He affirms this point again when a fan asked if Ma Chao is bald in the upcoming installment.
Filled with a warrior's pride, Ma Chao is a straightforward man who believes in making his future with his own power. A firm believer of justice and heroics, he is always intent on declaring his intentions for all to hear. His determined proclamations are not always appreciated by his listeners from his home or from rival armies since he often yells the loudest in Shu's army. While his charisma and honesty wins him followers, his lack of foresight and planning sometimes robs them of their trust, as he sometimes neglects to consider others while completing his own personal goals.
He shares a mutual friendship with Zhao Yun as both warriors agree on similar morales and mindsets. Back when they were together at Xi Liang, he idolized Pang De. When his comrade leaves him to join Cao Cao, his opinion sours due to the betrayal and he considers Pang De one of his worst enemies. He resents Cao Cao in most of his appearances, but his degree of hatred changes with each title.
Within Koei titles, Ma Chao (and to an extent, his father) is affiliated with horses and is seen as a brave cavalry captain. His crowning historical moment of leading horsemen into battle was when he and his troops fought Cao Cao at Yellow River, an attack which could have potentially killed Cao Cao. Impressed, Cao Cao remembered Ma Chao's imposing figure and praised his adversary's bravery. The valiant image of Ma Chao is thoroughly expanded in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, as his reputed stature and horseback riding were admired even when he was seventeen years old. A much simpler reason for people who aren't familiar with either sources may be that his family name (Ma) literally translates to "horse" in English. The Japanese pronunciation of his name, "Bachou", is sometimes tied to a pun for "horseback riding" (馬上, bashou or bajou).
Most of Ma Chao's weapons within the Dynasty Warriors series deal with either references to horses or him being a skilled horseman. The original name for his third weapon and his Standard spear in Dynasty Warriors 6 literally means "iron horsemen", but it is also a metaphorical term for a brave yet feared rider with unsurpassed fortitude and a solid helmet. His Skill spear implies he is a master of stallions and his skill chart in the same game depicts the upper body of a running steed. Ma Chao's personal item in Warriors Orochi specifically refers to the horse reigns of his homeland with its original name.
Though he is associated with the proficient mount of his home, Ma Chao has at least one weapon named after a dragon to represent his ties to Shu in the series. The original name for his Level 11 weapon, for instance, may be translated as "Sharpened Twin Dragons". Dragons within Chinese mythology represents ties to the Imperial family and are considered fortuitous beasts. Doubling their positive traits with a twin ensures harmony between them and a cooperative relationship. His Strength weapon of his spear set is named in ode to a quick dragon.
According to the harshly criticized and questionably accurate, Shanyang'gong Zaiji, the original name of Ma Chao's fourth weapon is tied to a story regarding him and Liu Bei. Sometime after Ma Chao had joined Liu Bei, he started to call his new lord by his style name, Xuande. Perhaps it was a casual slip or maybe he thought his lord liked him, but a vassal ignoring the rank of his master so hastily may also be considered very rude. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei heard Ma Chao's colloquial etiquette and were so outraged they wanted to kill Ma Chao. Liu Bei would have no part of it, saying that it would besmirch their name if it occurred. However, he didn't stop them from hiding themselves during his next meeting with Ma Chao, both ready to strike the visitor down if the general uttered Xuande once. Ma Chao, who wasn't warned or couldn't see the two generals in hiding, was able to understand the situation with one glance at Liu Bei's defeated expression. Heretofore, he would have greeted Liu Bei as Xuande; this time and for the rest of his life, Ma Chao would properly address his lord by title. Ma Chao later admitted he instinctively felt Guan Yu and Zhang Fei's killing intent nearby and correctly guessed the style name to be the cause. His original weapon name may be translated as "Dragon Keen Horseman", referring to the unintentional insult toward Liu Bei and Ma Chao using his wit to escape death.
Ma Chao was from Maoling county in the Fufeng precture. His father was Ma Teng, brothers were Ma Xiu and Ma Tie, and his children were Ma Cheng and a daughter.
In 192 AD, Ma Teng and his sworn brother Han Sui, were appointed titles under the Han, and were stationed at Mei and Jingcheng, respectively. In 194 AD, Ma Teng led his forces and attacked the court-controlling Li Jue but failed and fled back to Liang province. In 202 AD, Ma Teng joined Zhong Yao in fighting Gao Gan, where Ma Chao was sent with ten thousand to aid him, and a colonel of Ma Chao, Pang De, killed the other enemy leader. Ma Teng was appointed Commandant of the Palace Guards in the capital after having more disagreements with Han Sui, and Ma Teng's family moved near the capital in Ye. It is likely that most all kinsmen moved. Ma Chao was made Lieutenant-General to lead Ma Teng's soldiers back in Liang province.
In 211 AD, Cao Cao made plans to attack Zhang Lu in Hanzhong and would have to pass through Ma Chao's area to get through. After hearing word, Ma Chao rose in rebellion with Han Sui to defend Tong Pass. Before a battle, when he met with Cao Cao on the battlefield between lines, Ma Chao thought of attacking Cao Cao then and there. The presence of Xu Chu who was staring at him all the while, made him not. During a time with no battles Han Sui had a casual conversation with Cao Cao, and Ma Chao suspected him of conspiring with the enemy. Cao Cao had a letter sent to Han Sui with many blocked out and changed words, also heightening suspicions against him. Ma Chao and Han Sui were forced to flee to Hanzhong after a harsh attack. Later in the year, Ma Teng and relatives near the capital were executed for Ma Chao's rebellion.
In Hanzhong, Ma Chao began taking over Cao-controlled commanderies and besieged Ji Castle. The Inspector and Grand Administrator of the city opened the gates in surrender, and after entering, Ma Chao killed them both and appointed himself General who Subdues the West, Governor of Bing Province, and Controller of Military Affairs in Liang province. Several non-Han tribes, such as the Qiang and Di, aided him and during the campaign Ma Chao's courage was compared to the likes of Lu Bu and a famous Western Han general, Han Xin. Ma Chao would later have to flee to Zhang Lu, who though about giving his daughter in marraige to him, but someone reminded, "A man like this: if he feels no affection for his own parents, how can he care for others?" The idea was dropped.
Zhang Lu was asked for troops by Ma Chao to retake Liang province, and so troops were given to him, but he was repeatedly beaten back by Xiahou Yuan. In 214 AD, Ma Chao knew Zhang Lu had minimal interest in his agenda and was discouraged by the fact. Liu Bei besieged Chengdu and had an officer of his go to Ma Chao. Ma Chao wrote to Liu Bei, expressing his wishes to surrender to him, and after being secretly sent soldiers from Liu Bei, Ma Chao advanced to siege Chengdu from the north. Within ten days of arrival, Liu Zhang surrendered Yi province to Liu Bei, Ma Chao was made General who Pacifies the West.
The Dian lue records that once he heard that Ma Chao was coming, Liu Bei happily said, "I am going to get Yi province!" It also has that Ma Chao left behind his secondary wife and son in Hanzhong with Zhang Lu. Cao Cao captured Hanzhong from Zhang Lu, and gave the two to Zhang Lu, who killed them himself.
After participating in Liu Bei's Hanzhong campaign and Liu Bei made himself King of Hanzhong, Ma Chao was made General of the Left. In 221 AD, Ma Cao was made the second highest-ranking military title in an administration, General of the Agile Cavalry, governor of Liang province, and Marquis of Li Xiang. Liu Bei ordered Ma Chao to introduce the Han culture to the northern non-Han tribesmen, since he was on good terms with them. It is unknown whether this last mission succeeded.
In 222 AD, Ma Chao passed away at 47 and was posthumously made Marquis of Yuewei.
Chen Shou, author of the Records of Three Kingdoms, condemned Ma Chao for getting his clan killed and his false courage, but thought of his future actions as recompense.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Ma Chao was born in Liang Province. He swore vengeance upon Cao Cao when he learned that Cao Cao executed Ma Teng, Ma Chao's father. After receiving a letter from Liu Bei requesting that he attack Cao Cao Ma Chao marches his forces out and meets Cao Caos army at Tong Pass.
After numerous failed assaults by Cao Cao Ma Chao attacks the pass and Cao Cao's troops flee in terror. Ma Chaos power is so great that while fleeing Cao Cao heard someone crying "Cao Cao is he with the red dress". Cao Cao immediately tore off his red dress and continued fleeing but before too long he heard more people crying "Cao Cao is he with the long beard" at which point Cao Cao cut his beard but someone also saw this and shouted to Ma Chao that he had sawed off his beard, so Ma Chao demanded that all people with short beards were to be captured, hearing this Cao Cao wrapped a part of a flag around his chin and fled only narrowly escaping with the help of Cao Hong and Xu Chu.
Not long after Xu Chu sent a written request for a duel with Ma Chao. Ma Chao accepted and the next day the two generals met. For more than 200 bouts they fought with neither one gaining the advantage nor losing strength, returning only briefly to gain new steeds. After 230 bouts Xu Chu tried to stab Ma Chao but was evaded whereupon Ma Chao took the opportunity to strike Xu Chu's heart, but Xu Chu grabbed his spear and broke it in two. Instead of rushing back to his own lines to gain a new spear Ma Chao simply fought with Xu Chu with half of one, whilst his opponent retained the other half and each struggled to gain both parts of the spear. But before too long Cao Cao grew afraid for his general and ordered his army attack and so Ma Chao's forces moved in a crushed Cao Cao's assault. When Cao Cao returned to his camp he had less than half his troops remaining.
To follow his detachment from Shu, Ma Chao's giant swords in Special instead choose to emphasize his own strengths as a warrior. The original name for his Standard blade notes he has the power to decimate soldiers on the field; the literal translation of these characters ("Ruin Army") is perhaps why its English name is named as such. His other weapons in the same game remain faithful to the original meanings with little modification.