Zhang Liao
Character information
Force(s): Dong Zhuo ForcesLu Bu ForcesWei
Weapon Type: Pole Blade
Advanced + : Leech
Historical information
Real name: Zhāng Liáo
Chinese name: 張遼 - 张辽
Style name: Wényuǎn
Chinese name: 文遠 - 文远
Born: 169
Died: 222

Zhang Liao is a character introduced in the second Dynasty Warriors game. He first served as a high-ranking commander under Lu Bu until he is captured by Cao Cao. Showing courage at his execution, he is spared and soon became the leader of the Five Generals of Wei.

In the Dynasty Warriors series, he is 27 years old. His height in Dynasty Warriors and Kessen II is 185 cm (close to 6'1").

General Information

Serving Zhang Liao you will gain

Technology + 10

Musou + 15

Character Information


Zhang Liao is a man of honor and will stay virtuous to the very end, no matter what obstacles come his way. Usually calm and just, he is also capable of turning into a fierce beast during battle. He believes that he can only find his true purpose in life during war and walks the warrior's path. While serving Lu Bu, Zhang Liao has the utmost faith in his master's more valiant traits. He is praised as the one of the land's greatest warrior by Lu Bu and the two generals mutually respect each of their strengths.

In most titles, he admires Guan Yu's chivalry during their time together in Wei. In the destiny mode for Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends, Zhang Liao states that his weapon, Blue Wyvern, was made to be similar to Guan Yu's as a sign of respect. Their reverence for one another is also featured in Warriors Orochi 2.

Character Symbolism

His previous weapon of choice in the Dynasty Warriors series is called gōuliándāo, or Hook Sickle Blade, a huge blade that was said to have been in use during the Ming Dynasty. Unlike the heavy yǎnyuèdāo, which has a weight that is much too unreasonable to be used conventionally, the gouliandao is lighter and a reasonable combat weapon. Aside from its weight, it was fashioned to mirror the appearance of its heavier predecessor. Theyanyuedao is often said to have been the model for Guan Yu's legendary weapon. Zhang Liao's third, fourth, and Level 11 weapons are named to be identical to Guan Yu's respective weapons; the sole difference between the names of the two characters' armaments is the identified weapon type. Omega Force likely wanted to emphasize Zhang Liao's respect for his friend by giving them blades with similar origins and names.

Zhang Liao's original weapon names in Dynasty Warriors 6 are twin serpent faces (Standard), twin hawk beaks (Skill), and twin dragon heads (Strength). All three animals are considered divine kings in their own right, reigning the sky or land with their superb physiques. The listed reptiles are known to occasionally take human form within Asian mythology; emperors are fabled to be a personification of dragons or have dragon blood flowing within them. More often than not, serpents are a genus of dragons in Chinese mythology. They are said to actually be a form of nagas found within Hinduism and Buddhism. Due to their similar appearances, some claim Chinese dragons to actually be derived from nagas, though various sources argue whether this is true or not.

Zhang Liao's original outfit for Dynasty Warriors 7 is a baseball uniform. According to the characters printed on it, he plays for "Fenghuang University". The fenghuang is a legendary bird found within Chinese mythology. It is often used to symbolize Wei throughout the series, an alternate way of representing his loyalties to the empire. The H icon on his cap is due to the Japanese pronunciation for the mystic bird, "houoh".

His personal item in the Asian ports of Warriors Orochi is Bai Ma Piang, a famous poem composed by Cao Zhi. The poem surrounds a brave warrior who wholeheartedly dedicates himself to his country. According to a claim made by Gu Zhi, a Qing Dynasty Hakka scholar, the central figure in the composition was possibly Zhang Liao. He alleged that the poem may be based on the general during Cao Cao's subjugation of the Wuhuan in 207.

Historical Information

Early life

A local of Mayi , Zhang Liao was originally surnamed Nie (聶). He served as a local administrative officer during his younger days. Towards the end of the Han Dynasty,Ding Yuan, governor of Bing Province, favored Zhang Liao's martial skills and recruited him.

In 189, Ding Yuan and his trusted aide, Lü Bu, led troops into Luoyang to assist General-in-Chief He Jin to eliminate the Ten Attendants, a group of influential eunuch officials in the imperial court. However, He Jin was soon assassinated by the eunuchs and the capital fell into chaos. Dong Zhuo, a warlord from Liang Province (凉州), in the ensuing tussle for power, intended to place in the throne a puppet emperor. This move deteriorated the relationship between Ding and Dong and induced the latter to plot against the former. After Lü Bu was persuaded to defect and kill Ding Yuan, Zhang Liao followed him to serve under Dong Zhuo, who had become the de facto head of government. Soon, regional warlords formed a coalition against Dong Zhuo, who was therefore forced to move the capital west to Chang'an.

Service under Lu Bu

Having an affair with one of Dong Zhuo's concubines, Lü Bu was apprehensive to his adopted father, and again turned on his master and slayed Dong. Zhang Liao then assisted Lü Bu in an attempt to stabilize the capital and rebuild imperial authority. However, the new government was destroyed by Dong Zhuo's former subjects Li Jue and Guo Si when they breached the city gate of Chang'an. Zhang Liao fled with Lü Bu, and joined Yuan Shao temporarily. During their short stay in Yuan Shao's camp, they helped performing raids on the Heishan Bandits' camp, and had dealt major damage to latter.

Following Lü Bu, Zhang Liao and other Bing Province warriors wandered the land, and finally were given a chance to gain a foothold. In 194, Lü Bu was welcomed by Chen Gong of Yan Province, while the warlord of the province, Cao Cao, was dwelling on causing calamities in Xu Province (徐州). For more than a year, the two forces were wrestling over Yan Province and Lü Bu's forces were able to defeat Cao Cao initially, but Cao managed to gradually regain his control over the province. After a famine outbreak, Lü Bu was finally ousted from the area to Xiaopei (Cao Cao's army resorted to cannibalism to solve the problem of food storage). There, Lü Bu joined the Xu Province warlord, Liu Bei, who would be betrayed by Lü and lost the province to him. Zhang Liao was made a county minister of Lü Bu when the latter gained Xu Province.

In 198, Cao Cao defeated Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi, and most of his men either defected or surrendered. Lü Bu was executed and Zhang Liao led his men to Cao Cao. Since then, he participated in many of Cao Cao's campaigns, including the decisive Battle of Guandu and the subsequent northern expeditions against Yuan Tan, Yuan Shang, and the Wuhuan tribes.

Battle of Xiaoyao Ford

After Cao Cao lost the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208, he placed Zhang Liao, Yue Jin and Li Dian at Hefei fortress with 7,000 men to guard against advances of the southern warlord Sun Quan. Soon Sun Quan led a much larger force upon Hefei. Under instructions from Cao Cao, Zhang Liao and Li Dian recruited 800 vanguard troops to deter the enemy outside the city.

As dawn broke, the force moved out with Zhang Liao in the forefront. Zhang Liao galloped into the enemy ranks and single-handedly killed tens of men. Proclaiming his own name, Zhang Liao then went straight for Sun Quan, who sought refuge on top of a knoll. At least three of Sun Quan's generals tried to intercept him, but all failed.[4] After seeing Zhang Liao had much fewer men on a slope, Sun Quan calmed down and ordered his troops to surround the enemy.

Leading scores of men, Zhang Liao soon broke through the encirclement. Those who were still caught within then cried, "General, are you going to forsake us?" Spinning around, Zhang Liao rode into the circle again and rescued his men, by when it was already noontime. Sun Quan's demoralized soldiers then retreated for the time being.

Returning to the city, Zhang Liao supervised the reinforcement of the defense works. After two weeks of siege, Sun Quan could not take Hefei and had to turn back because of a wide spread plague within his army. At Xiaoyao Ford (逍遙津), Eastern Wu's main army retreated first while the rear army of only one thousand men led by Sun Quan and a few generals stayed behind. Knowing Sun Quan had made such an arrangement, Zhang Liao immediately led several thousands of elite cavalry to capitalize on his foe's fatal blunder. On a number of occasions, they almost captured Sun Quan if not resisted desperately by Sun's general, Ling Tong. Upon hearing Zhang Liao had accomplished this nearly impossible deed, Cao Cao was stunned, and personally arrived Hefei, where he took a look on the battlefield for a long time. Zhang Liao was promoted to the rank of General Who Conquers the East (征東將軍) for his deed in Xiaoyao Ford.

Late life

After Cao Pi succeeded Cao Cao in 220, Zhang Liao was further promoted to General of the Vanguard (前將軍) and again deployed to Hefei to defend against Sun Quan. In 221, Zhang Liao traveled to Luoyang for an audience with Cao Pi, the emperor of the newly-founded state of Wei, who compared the general to Shao Hu (召虎)¹. However, Zhang Liao soon fell sick at the edge of a battle against Wu, a new state that Sun Quan founded. Sun Quan reminded his men, "Even though Zhang Liao is sick, he is still unrivalled. On guard!" After defeating Lü Fan, a Wu general, Zhang Liao died in the following year in Jiangdu (江都). He was granted the posthumous title of Marquis Gang (剛侯), literally meaning "resolute marquis".

Zhang Liao's son Zhang Hu also served Wei as an Assistant General (偏前軍).

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In the novel, Zhang Liao was depicted as a loyal and upright general. While this might be true, such portrayal was likely the result of artistic simplification.

In Chapter 18, where he still served under Lü Bu, Zhang Liao was sent with a force to attack Liu Bei at Xiaopei . From the city wall Guan Yu addressed the attacker, "You seem like an extraordinary man, why ally yourself with the rebels"? Whereupon Zhang Liao hung his head and made no reply. Knowing that Zhang Liao was a righteous man, Guan Yu refrained from hurling insults at his enemy, nor did he go out to meet the attack.

In the next chapter, after Lü Bu was defeated and captured by Cao Cao, Zhang Liao was also bound and brought before the victor. While Lü Bu pleaded for mercy, Zhang Liao scorned at the cowardly behavior and cursed his captor, showing no fear for death. He stretched his neck out to make it easier for him to be beheaded, and the angry Cao Cao then came for Zhang Liao with a sword in hand. However, Liu Bei quickly held on to Cao Cao's arm and Guan Yu dropped onto his knees. In unison they avouched for Zhang Liao's character and pleaded for his life. Dropping the sword, Cao Cao laughed, "I, too, know Wenyuan (Zhang Liao's style name) to be loyal and righteous. I was just testing him." The warlord then personally unbound Zhang Liao and offered him fresh clothes and a seat. Moved by Cao Cao's sincerity, Zhang Liao then surrendered.

When Guan Yu was later besieged by Cao Cao's army in Xiapi, it was Zhang Liao who persuaded him to surrender. Zhang Liao then became close friends with Guan Yu during Guan Yu's short service under Cao Cao, having fought alongside him against Yuan Shao. In the novel, when Guan Yu was chased by Xiahou Dun after leaving Cao Cao's service, Zhang Liao insisted that Xiahou Dun allow him to leave in accordance with Cao Cao's orders.

In Chapter 86 Zhang Liao was hit by an arrow fired by Ding Feng during an encounter with Wu troops led by Xu Sheng. He was rescued by Xu Huang (who coincidentally eventually also died under similar circumstances) and together, they escorted Cao Pi back to safety. Upon returning to Xuchang, Zhang Liao died from the injury and was rewarded for his bravery.

Quest's Started by Zhang Liao

Destroy the Facility - 1 Player Quest

Capture the Messenger - 1 Player Quest

A Soldier Prizes Speed - 1 Player Quest

Training Within the Castle - 3 Player Quest

天の恵み - 2 Player Quest


Zhang Liao's Weapon of Choice is the Pole Blade

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