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Monday, October 31, 2011

Cáo Cāo 曹操

Posted by Ricky Chua On 10:22 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
Cao Cao's ability in this game is masochistic! Therefore he is blocking the arrow with his hand to capture it and use it for later, just like his ability.

Who is he:
The "bad" guy. The Machiavellian. The Julius Caesar of Ancient China... or at least that is what the story teller Luo Guan Zhong 罗贯中 wants you to think of Cao Cao. This guy is one interesting character; ruthless, intelligent, user of ploys and ambushes, but yet chivalrous at the same time. He treats his loyal subjects and talents with respect and admiration, yet is paranoid and fearful of assassinations. Perhaps it is due to his "unpolitically correct" way of achieving success (through ploys, ambushes, trickery and murder) that is the cause for his negative portrayal in the story. It is said that the story itself was heavily edited to downplay Cao Cao's accomplishments so as to emphasize Liu Bei 刘备's confucius-styled leadership. Either way, there is really no denying that Cao Cao is one great leader of his time and one of the most famous Chinese historical figures of all time.


Character ability 1: "Villainous Hero 奸雄 (jiān xióng)"
Cao Cao can immediately acquire the card (or cards) that resulted in him suffering damage. Here are some examples of how that works:

Example 1 - When he is the target of ATTACK 杀, Cao Cao can choose not use DODGE 闪, suffer the 1 unit of damage, and acquire the ATTACK card that was used.

Example 2 (complex scenario) - When he uses DODGE to evade an ATTACK but the attacker has equipped Stone Cleaving Axe 贯石斧 and chooses to discard 2 cards to cause damage anyways, Cao Cao suffers the damage but cannot pick up BOTH of the cards that were discarded to cause the damage. This is because the card that causes the damage is the ATTACK and not the discarded cards. Contrast this to the Serpent Halberd 丈八蛇矛, where the 2 cards used in that instance represents an ATTACK card, and thus Cao Cao can pick up both of those cards if he suffers damage.

Character ability 2: [Ruler ability] "Royal Escort 护驾 (hù jià)"
As the role of RULER 主公, Cao Cao can ask any Wei character 魏将 to use DODGE on his behalf where applicable.

Ability's relation to story:
"Villainous hero" must be one of the best thought-of abilities in the game. It is not ridiculously powerful or god-like, very useful in the game, and a wonderful fit for Cao Cao's personality in the story. Every time he met defeat, Cao Cao would bounce back and bite the face off his opponents, then convince the enemy generals to surrender into his service. Such was the case of Zhang Liao 张辽, who surrendered to Cao Cao after Lu Bu 吕布 was defeated, then became one of the Kingdom of Cao Wei 曹魏's great generals. It was also mentioned that Cao Cao loves only women who have already been taken, then relish the thought of snatching the woman away from her partner. As for "Royal escort", Cao Cao has had his ass saved countless times by his generals, who always appear just in the nick of time.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - He set the foundations for the Kingdom of Cao Wei, which became the precursor unifying the whole of China under the rule of Si Ma Zhao 司马昭. Though by that time, Si Ma Zhao had usurped Cao Wei for his own and established the Jin Dynasty of China 晋朝 (AD 265 - 420), nevertheless Cao Cao really was the father of all that groundwork. No Cao Cao, no Jin Dynasty, history would be completely different! Simple as that.

2. Cause of death - Cao Cao experienced endless headaches in his dying days. To cure him, his subjects brought him the most famous doctor of the time, Hua Tuo 华陀, who diagnosed his sickness as some form of rheumatism of the skull. Hua Tuo proposed to hack Cao Cao's head open for surgery, which in the century AD 200 is pretty much insane! Cao Cao, being all paranoid about assassination attempts, tossed Hua Tuo into jail for the suggestion. Without the doctor to cure him, Cao Cao succumbed to the sickness (whatever it was) soon after.

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