Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast
A retelling of the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a way that’s more accessible to a Western audience. See for more.

Announcement: Ask Me Anything on Dec. 16
Nov 21, 2019 • 1 min
If you have questions about the how’s and why’s of this podcast, or my thoughts on podcasting in general, post them at the Ask Me Anything hosted by WhatPods on December 16 at
Update: Videos on Three Kingdoms Warlords
May 19, 2019 • 1 min
I recently collaborated with the YouTube channel Invicta History on three videos about Three Kingdoms warlords. The videos were sponsored by Creative Assembly as part of the promotion for its new game Total War: Three Kingdoms. My role in the project was…
Update: Appearance on “Total War” Podcast
May 1, 2019 • 0 min
Back in February, I took part in a podcast conversation on the Invicta History YouTube channel with the host, Julien, and Peter Stewart, a writer from the team producing the coming “Total War: Three Kingdoms” game. We chatted for more than an hour,…
Update: Water Margin Podcast Launch; Three Kingdoms Miscellany
Jan 7, 2019 • 3 min
An announcement about my new podcast project, and an update on a couple things I’ve been doing with the Three Kingdoms Podcast.
154: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
May 14, 2018 • 16 min
A reflection on this four-year ride, and a glimpse of things to come.
Supplemental 020: Carousel of Characters
May 9, 2018 • 29 min
A rapid-fire look at a bunch of supporting players in the novel.
153: Podcasts Under Heaven …
May 7, 2018 • 13 min
One hundred and fifty-three episodes later, we have finally reached the “long divided, must unite” part of the novel.
Supplemental 019: Food
May 2, 2018 • 25 min
A look at what they ate and drank during the Three Kingdoms era.
152: Mutual Loathing and Admiration
Apr 30, 2018 • 27 min
While their respective states are sizing each other up for conquest, the Jin and Wu commanders at the borders are getting along famously.
151: How Quickly They Forget
Apr 16, 2018 • 28 min
Sure I just lost my kingdom, but look at all the fun stuff they have in the Wei capital!
Supplemental 018: Sima Yi, Fact and Fiction
Apr 12, 2018 • 15 min
We look at the architect of the Sima clan’s rise to power.
150: Ulterior Motives
Apr 9, 2018 • 25 min
Everyone has a hidden agenda, except maybe for the guy suspected of hatching an insurrection. (Note: Special guest narrator this week)
149: We Ain’t No Fortunate Sons
Apr 2, 2018 • 28 min
A Shu commander tries to live up to his father’s legacy, while a Shu prince refuses to follow his father’s example.
Supplemental 017: Sun Quan, Fact and Fiction
Mar 28, 2018 • 15 min
A dive into the real life of the guy who ran the family business for 50-plus years.
148: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Mar 19, 2018 • 27 min
While Jiang Wei scrambles to mount a last-ditch defense, his old nemesis searches for a way to go around his roadblock.
Supplemental 016: Learning to Delegate
Mar 14, 2018 • 11 min
Meet two statesmen who really mastered the art of saying, “That’s not in my job description.”
147: The Empire Strikes Back
Mar 12, 2018 • 27 min
Tired of Shu’s perpetual encroachment on its borders, Wei decides to take the fight to its nemesis.
146: Pyrrhic Victory
Mar 5, 2018 • 27 min
Jiang Wei finally gets the better of Deng Ai, but even that ends up backfiring.
145: Even More Chaos at Court
Feb 19, 2018 • 28 min
Discord between lord and vassal simmers in the court of Shu, while things boil over in the court of Wei.
144: Chaos at Court
Feb 12, 2018 • 28 min
While the Shu and Wei continue to slug it out in the West, the kingdom of Wu deals with internal unrest at the highest level.
143: How the Southeast Was Won, Again
Feb 5, 2018 • 27 min
Sima Zhao takes the emperor on a buddy road trip to put down another insurgence in a particularly troublesome part of the kingdom.
142: Mildly Wild West
Jan 22, 2018 • 27 min
Oh look: Another Northern campaign by the kingdom of Shu. Yawn.
Supplemental 015: Zhuge Liang, Fact and Fiction
Jan 17, 2018 • 33 min
We say so long to the novel’s pivotal player and wonder if he was really the genius the book made him out to be.
141: I Would Give My Left Eye for Google Maps!
Jan 15, 2018 • 28 min
A couple generals down South stir up trouble for Sima Shi. Now if only their forces knew the way to his camp ….
140: A Familiar Script
Jan 8, 2018 • 27 min
Jiang Wei’s Northern invasion meets the same fate as Zhuge Liang’s, while Sima Shi borrows a few pages from Cao Cao’s playbook for how to deal with imperial puppets who don’t know their place.
139: Chaos in the South
Dec 25, 2017 • 29 min
Things go well for the kingdom of Wu and its political leader … until they bite off more than they can chew.
138: North by Northwest
Dec 18, 2017
Aided by an unexpected defection, Jiang Wei restarts the Northern campaigns by setting his sights first on the Northwest.
137: Coups Are Back in Vogue
Dec 11, 2017 • 29 min
It’s been a while since someone made a play to seize power from within. That changes this week.
136: King in the North
Nov 27, 2017 • 29 min
A new threat emerges on Wei’s northeastern borders, and he is just as bad at battle strategy as Jon Snow.
135: Pursuit of Immortality
Nov 20, 2017 • 30 min
While Zhuge Liang sails off into eternal fame, the Wei emperor Cao Rui goes in search of eternal youth.
134: The Shu Hits the Fan
Nov 13, 2017 • 29 min
The death of its indispensable man is just the start of the Riverlands’ troubles.
133: When It Rains …
Oct 30, 2017 • 31 min
A stunning turn of events in the showdown between Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi.
132: Intellectual Property Theft Does Not Pay
Oct 23, 2017 • 26 min
Again and again, Sima Yi is made to rue the day he stole Zhuge Liang’s invention.
Supplemental 014: It’s Just A Flesh Wound
Oct 18, 2017 • 10 min
We delve into the story of the one-armed assassin and the guy who kicked his butt AFTER being assassinated.
131: Wooden Oxens, Gliding Horses, and Copycats
Oct 16, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi match wits over the latest in wheelbarro
130: Goin’ Down the Only Road I’ve Ever Known
Oct 2, 2017 • 29 min
After another promising Northern campaign gets short-circuited, Zhuge Liang prays to his former lord for the strength to carry on, because he’s made up his mind and he ain’t wasting no more time.
129: You Called Me Back for This?!!
Sep 25, 2017 • 27 min
Just as he was getting into a groove, Zhuge Liang is rudely interrupted in the field by an urgent dispatch from his emperor.
Supplemental 013: Getting Sneaky
Sep 20, 2017 • 6 min
A brief explanation of the story behind the most famous secret crossing in Chinese history.
128: Smackdowns and Smack Talk
Sep 18, 2017 • 29 min
You’ve seen Zhuge Liang kill someone with just his tongue. Now watch him kill someone with the written word.
127: A Familiar Script
Sep 4, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang’s third Northern expedition gets off to a promising start, but what else is new?
126: Putting the “Three” in Three Kingdoms
Aug 28, 2017 • 28 min
Did you know that we had actually been rolling with just two official kingdoms all this time? Well, Sun Quan will fix that this week.
125: Smoke and Mirrors
Aug 21, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang toys with Cao Zhen time and again on his second Northern expedition.
Supplemental 012: Liu Bei, Fact and Fiction
Aug 9, 2017 • 35 min
We delve into the life and career of the real Liu Bei to see if he is really as virtuous as the novel made him out to be (spoiler alert: No one can be as virtuous as the novel made Liu Bei out to be).
124: Losing An Arm and A Pillar
Aug 7, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang prepares to take another shot at Wei, but one old friend will not be joining him.
123: The Price of Ignoring Good Advice
Jul 31, 2017 • 29 min
While Zhuge Liang picks up the pieces after his aborted Northern campaign, a Wei commander falls for a trick from the South.
122: If You Know that I Know that You Know that I’m Bluffing …
Jul 24, 2017 • 30 min
When his campaign takes a drastic turn for the worse, Zhuge Liang is forced to resort to a desperate gamble.
121: The Worst-Kept Secret
Jul 10, 2017 • 29 min
Meng Da totally misses the point of a SECRET rebellion. Can Zhuge Liang’s advice help him pull it off anyway?
120: The Enemy Within
Jul 3, 2017 • 29 min
While the Wei forces have their hands full with Zhuge Liang along the border, a new threat lurks deep inside their territory
119: Gluttons for Punishment
Jun 26, 2017 • 29 min
Wei forces sent to stop Zhuge Liang first try to out-talk him, and then try again to outsmart him.
118: Yes, Let’s Try to Outsmart Zhuge Liang
Jun 12, 2017 • 27 min
Matching wits with Zhuge Liang sounds like a horrible idea, but that won’t stop multiple Wei officers from trying.
117: Go North, Old Man
Jun 5, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang sends a 70-something general and a tax collector to lead the way for his Northern expedition.
Supplemental 011: Zhang Fei, Fact and Fiction
May 31, 2017 • 8 min
We dive into the differences between the fictional and real-life Zhang Fei and ask, “Who really whipped that corrupt bribe-seeking government official?”
116: Haute Cuisine with Zhuge Liang
May 29, 2017 • 29 min
How do you appease the angry souls of the damned? Feed them buns that look like human heads and tell them death is no escape from imperial subjugation, apparently.
115: Stop … Being … So … Nice!
May 15, 2017 • 28 min
After a couple more displays of over-the-top kindness, imperial subjugation is starting to look kind of decent after all for Meng Huo.
114: Homewreckers
May 8, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang strolls into Meng Huo’s house and makes himself at home.
113: So What Doesn’t Kill You Around Here?
May 1, 2017 • 29 min
Zhuge Liang’s army marches deeper into the heart of darkness and forgets to read the part in the travel guide about bringing bottled water.
112: Gift-Wrapped Victories
Apr 17, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang catches Meng Huo twice more with hardly any effort.
111: Catch and Release
Apr 10, 2017 • 29 min
Zhuge Liang continues his campaign to win not only battles, but also barbarian hearts and minds.
110: That Was Easy
Apr 3, 2017 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang barely breaks a sweat while cruising through level 1 of his Southwestern quest.
109: Troublesome Neighbors
Mar 20, 2017 • 30 min
While Shu and Wu become best buds again, trouble pops up from the North and the Southwest.
108: Battle of the Nerds
Mar 13, 2017 • 31 min
An episode that starts with five armies bearing down on Shu somehow ends with nothing more than a showdown between pedants at a banquet.
Supplemental 010: Cao Cao, Fact and Fiction
Mar 8, 2017 • 43 min
A huge episode where we bid farewell to our favorite villain by delving into his real-life counterpart’s life, career, and legacy.
107: Doleful, Doh-ful, and Du Fu
Mar 6, 2017 • 32 min
Liu Bei gets sad, Cao Pi botches an invasion, and we read a poem by one of China’s greatest poets.
106: Do I Smell Smoke?
Feb 20, 2017 • 32 min
The tide of battle — and history — turns in the span of one night.
105: Can’t Get No Respect
Feb 13, 2017 • 31 min
In his most desperate hour, Sun Quan puts his faith in Lu Xun, but will his officers obey orders from a man they see as a pedant and a coward?
104: Out with the Old, In with the New
Feb 6, 2017 • 24 min
Liu Bei’s team of old warhorses takes another hit, but two young stallions are waiting in the wings. This episode is brought to you by special guest Kaiser Kuo, host of the Sinica Podcast.
103: See, What Happened Was …
Jan 23, 2017 • 30 min
With Liu Bei bearing down on them, the Southlands try to tell him that they didn’t really mean to kill Guan Yu; it was all a simple misunderstanding. We swear!
102: Oh Great, Who Died Now?
Jan 16, 2017 • 29 min
No, not him, too!! Another major character bites the dust.
101: The Most Boring Episode
Jan 9, 2017 • 30 min
You would think the end of a 400-year dynasty would have more action than this, but it’s all just decrees, counter-decrees, speeches, humble brags, and an unusually strong gust of wind.
100: Cao Zhi and the Beanstalk
Dec 26, 2016 • 31 min
Cao Cao’s third son finds out what passes for brotherly love in his family.
099: Tears for a Villain
Dec 19, 2016 • 30 min
Cao Cao grapples with mortality and legacy.
Supplemental 009: Guan Yu, Fact and Fiction
Dec 14, 2016 • 16 min
We bid farewell to the Lord of the Beautiful Beard and talk about that time when Cao Cao stole the woman Guan Yu was going to steal from someone else.
098: Back from the Dead
Dec 12, 2016 • 31 min
Guan Yu’s ghost finds inner peace … and then starts killing and spooking people.
097: War of Attrition
Nov 28, 2016 • 29 min
Defeated and leaking troops by the minute, Guan Yu makes a desperate dash for safety.
096: Sneak Attacks
Nov 21, 2016 • 27 min
While Guan Yu is busy fighting Cao Cao’s forces, Lü Meng and Dongwu try to catch him unawares.
095: Anesthesia Is for Wusses
Nov 14, 2016 • 29 min
After an arrow causes a festering wound, Guan Yu signs up for a bleeding-edge surgical operation.
094: Bringing a Coffin to a Knife Fight
Oct 31, 2016 • 28 min
With Guan Yu bearing down on a couple of his key cities, Cao Cao dispatches a general who pledges his life to victory and shows he means it.
Supplemental 008: Hands Off My Shortbread
Oct 27, 2016 • 10 min
We delve into the relationship between Cao Cao and his secretary Yang Xiu, a man with a keen understanding of his boss’s mind … and a death wish.
093: The Man Who Didn’t Want to Be King
Oct 24, 2016 • 28 min
After punching Cao Cao in the mouth, Liu Bei tries his best to keep his men from declaring him king, to no avail.
100th Episode Q&A
Oct 17, 2016 • 48 min
We’ve made it to 100 episodes! So let’s throw it open to some questions.
092: Cao Cao’s River of Woe
Oct 3, 2016 • 28 min
Cao Cao can’t even get a good night’s sleep as he tries to dislodge Liu Bei from the banks of the Han River.
091: Mighty Man of Power
Sep 26, 2016 • 27 min
Huang Zhong performs more heroic deeds, then Zhao Yun says to Cao Cao, “Hey, remember me?”
090: Take That, Young Punks!
Sep 19, 2016 • 28 min
With the battle for Hanzhong in full swing, Liu Bei sends a senior citizen to chase off some rowdy kids.
089: They Chose … Poorly
Sep 5, 2016 • 28 min
You are a court official. Cao Cao just put down a coup, and now he’s asking whether you helped put out the fire started by the rebels or just stayed home. What would you say?
088: Digression and Prognostications
Aug 29, 2016 • 27 min
We make virtually no progress in the narrative this week as we get tangled up in mysticism, superstition, and oh yeah, another conspiracy to overthrow Cao Cao.
087: Cuts Like A Knife … and Many Other Weapons
Aug 22, 2016 • 27 min
After a general risks life and limb to save him, Sun Quan makes sure everyone appreciates the sacrifice.
086: You Killed My Father, Prepare to … Deal with My Butthurt Tantrums
Aug 8, 2016 • 27 min
Sun Quan tries to wrestle some territory away from Cao Cao, while at the same time playing peacemaker between two of his own officers.
085: Another One Bites the Dust
Aug 1, 2016 • 27 min
Another foe bows to Cao Cao’s might.
Supplemental Episode 007: Zhou Yu, Fact and Fiction
Jul 27, 2016 • 12 min
A long overdue farewell to Dongwu’s military genius, who had the misfortune of being alive in the time of Zhuge Liang. Or at least, that’s how the novel tells it.
084: On A Knife’s Edge
Jul 25, 2016 • 29 min
Guan Yu brings a really big knife to a land dispute.
083: I.O.U.; I.O.U. Not
Jul 11, 2016 • 29 min
Liu Bei comes into some new possessions, and then tries to wiggle out of having to pay back his creditors in Dongwu.
082: Dueling Tigers
Jul 4, 2016 • 27 min
Zhang Fei and Ma Chao collide in a battle for the ages.
Announcement 2016-06-29: 100th Episode
Jun 29, 2016 • 2 min
I’m planning to make the 100th episode a Q&A session, so send in your questions to by September 30, 2016.
081: Honorable Men Slaughtering Women and Children
Jun 27, 2016 • 28 min
Liu Zhang looks for outside help to deal with the last outside help he brought in, while we hit pause to catch up with Ma Chao and his misadventures.
080: Never Surrender! … Until They Ask Nicely
Jun 13, 2016 • 26 min
Zhang Fei discovers that all you need to do to get the Riverlands’ finest to switch sides is to say please.
079: Should’ve Heeded the Warning Signs
Jun 6, 2016 • 29 min
Just as numerous omens portended, disaster strikes Liu Bei’s campaign in the Riverlands.
078: The Die Is Cast
May 30, 2016 • 26 min
Having passed the point of no return, Liu Bei goes a-conquerin’ in the Riverlands.
077: Land of the Rising Sun
May 16, 2016 • 29 min
Cao Cao gets a promotion, nine very nice pieces of swag, and a hint about Sun Quan’s imperial destiny.
076: Thanks Bro
May 9, 2016 • 28 min
This week, overflowing brotherly affection is expressed through deception in the East and sword dances in the West.
075: Treason: It’s the Honorable Thing to Do
May 2, 2016 • 28 min
Zhang Song and his friend decide that honor and ethics demand that they betray their master and give his land to Liu Bei.
074: Going West
Apr 18, 2016 • 31 min
Cao Cao’s latest victory triggers a chain reaction in the western reaches of empire.
073: The Brush Is Mightier Than the Sword
Apr 11, 2016 • 30 min
With a few strokes of his brush, Cao Cao sows dissent in Ma Chao’s inner circle.
072: A Close Shave for Cao Cao
Apr 4, 2016 • 28 min
Cao Cao’s opening rounds against Ma Chao get a little hairy.
071: Loose Lips and Loose Women
Mar 21, 2016 • 28 min
Another week, another conspiracy against Cao Cao, and another evil-woman trope.
Supplemental Episode 006: Red Cliff, Fact and Fiction
Mar 17, 2016 • 14 min
A look at the most legendary battle of the novel and how the fictional account differs from the real showdown.
070: Weeping Dragon, Drunken Phoenix
Mar 14, 2016 • 30 min
Zhuge Liang delivers a heartfelt eulogy for a dearly departed friend, while Pang Tong shows how to advance your career by not doing your job.
069: Try, Try, and Try Again
Mar 7, 2016 • 30 min
Zhou Yu devises yet again scheme to take Jing Province, because he’s a glutton for punishment.
068: Escape from Dongwu
Feb 22, 2016 • 29 min
Liu Bei and his new wife try to flee from the murderously angry clutches of Sun Quan and Zhou Yu.
067: Welcome to the Family
Feb 15, 2016 • 29 min
Sun Quan and Liu Bei are now brothers-in-law as the fake wedding becomes real.
066: One Wedding and Three Funerals
Feb 8, 2016 • 28 min
ROTK goes in search of higher TV ratings: Several role players get killed off, and we have a surprise marriage proposal.
065: Oldie but Goodie
Jan 25, 2016 • 27 min
After seeing his colleagues each conquer a county, Guan Yu wants in on the action, but an “old pawn” stands in his way.
064: Liu Bei Builds His Base
Jan 18, 2016 • 28 min
While Dongwu and Cao Cao are busy fighting each other, Liu Bei expands his sphere of influence.
063: Circle of Lies
Jan 11, 2016 • 28 min
Zhou Yu fools Cao Ren; Cao Ren fools Zhou Yu; Zhou Yu fools Cao Ren again; Zhuge Liang fools everyone; Zhou Yu bursts a blood vessel.
062: Close Encounters of the Guan Yu Kind
Dec 28, 2015 • 28 min
Routed and trapped, Cao Cao and his haggard troops throw themselves at the mercy of the man blocking their path.
Supplemental Episode 005: Legendary Advisers
Dec 25, 2015 • 27 min
A little Christmas morning stocking stuffer: A look at some of the guys that Zhuge Liang keeps getting compared to.
061: Who’s Laughing Now?
Dec 21, 2015 • 27 min
The Battle of Red Cliffs goes badly for Cao Cao, but he still finds reasons to feel smug, much to his men’s chagrin.
060: Blowin’ in the Wind
Dec 14, 2015 • 28 min
After Zhuge Liang moves heaven and earth, Zhou Yu and Liu Bei move their troops into position for the coming battle.
059: Cao Cao the Poet
Nov 30, 2015 • 27 min
Delighted by his invincible fleet and moved by the scenery, Cao Cao shows off his literary chops … until someone decided to play critic.
058: Defections and Deceptions
Nov 23, 2015 • 29 min
Zhou Yu and a couple other wise men of Dongwu spin an elaborate ruse for Cao Cao to faceplant into.
057: Strawman Solution
Nov 16, 2015 • 29 min
Zhou Yu presents Zhuge Liang with an invented problem. Zhuge Liang delivers an outside-the-box answer.
056: To Have Friends Coming In from Afar, How Delightful
Nov 2, 2015 • 28 min
Zhou Yu gets visits from Liu Bei and an old school chum, and he cannot not be happier to see them.
055: The Best of Frenemies
Oct 26, 2015 • 28 min
Sun Quan formally declares war on Cao Cao, while his commander Zhou Yu secretly declares war on their supposed allies.
054: A Bridge Too Far
Oct 19, 2015 • 30 min
Zhuge Liang has a little homonymical fun with Zhou Yu as they discuss whether the Southlands should fight or submit to Cao Cao.
053: I Find Your Argument Illogical!
Oct 5, 2015 • 30 min
When Zhuge Liang finds himself in the same room as the Southlands’ foremost academics, the gloves come off and jabs fly. Verbal jabs, of course.
052: Zhang Fei’s Killer Bluff
Sep 28, 2015 • 29 min
Zhang Fei’s cunning is the only things standing between Liu Bei and Cao Cao’s army. Well, that and his really loud, really deadly voice.
051: Zhao Yun Kicks Butt
Sep 21, 2015 • 31 min
All hell breaks loose as Cao Cao’s troops catch up to Liu Bei. Out of this hell rides his general Zhao Yun, with a precious package strapped to his chest.
050: It’s Just A Flesh Wound
Sep 7, 2015 • 30 min
Zhuge Liang burns another detachment of Cao Cao’s troops, but there are plenty more where that came from.
049: Is It Getting Hot in Here?
Aug 31, 2015 • 28 min
Zhuge Liang blazes to victory in his first battle, but Cao Cao turns up the heat on Jing Province.
048: Prelude to Wars
Aug 24, 2015 • 28 min
While Sun Quan prepares for a retaliatory strike from Liu Biao, Liu Biao and Liu Bei brace for an invasion by Cao Cao.
047: Meanwhile, In the Southlands
Aug 10, 2015 • 29 min
We leave Liu Bei with his new sage and check in on what the Sun clan has been up to.
Supplemental Episode 004: Yuan Shao and Yu Rang
Aug 5, 2015 • 14 min
We bid goodbye to the once-mighty warlord of the North and delve into the story of a determined assassin.
046: Elusive Recluse
Aug 3, 2015 • 33 min
Liu Bei’s strategy for finding Zhuge Liang: Go up to anyone in Nanyang who can rub two words together and ask, “Are you Sleeping Dragon?”
045: Parting Is Such Sweet Sor … Wait, Zhuge Who?
Jul 27, 2015 • 27 min
Liu Bei gets really broken up about Xu Shu’s departure, until he learns there’s someone much smarter.
044: How to Get A Job with Liu Bei Inc.
Jul 13, 2015 • 29 min
Approach Liu Bei on the street, sing a song, get invited to his office, advise him to give his horse to an enemy, get C-suite job.
043: Party Foul
Jul 3, 2015 • 30 min
Liu Bei gets invited to a feast, but Lady Cai and her brother ruin the fun when they try to kill him.
042: Breaches in Etiquette
Jun 29, 2015 • 29 min
The surviving Yuan brothers get a cold reception from their host up north, and Liu Bei commits a dinner-table faux pas down south.
041: How the North Was Won
Jun 15, 2015 • 29 min
Riding a wave of inevitability, Cao Cao sweeps the Yuan brothers out of their territories.
040: With Brothers Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
Jun 8, 2015 • 28 min
The eldest and youngest sons of Yuan Shao take on their most hated foe — each other.
039: My Three No-Good Sons
Jun 1, 2015 • 26 min
Yuan Shao finally has enough of Cao Cao, and now it’s his sons’ turn to get stomped.
038: Cao Cao Triumphant
May 18, 2015 • 29 min
Cao Cao puts a couple more smackdowns on Yuan Shao, but then gets distracted by a pesky old foe.
037: Battles of Guandu
May 11, 2015 • 30 min
Night raids, catapults, tunnels, fires. All these and more in a CG-packed episode and one of the most important clashes in the novel.
036: An Unhealthy Obsession
May 4, 2015 • 30 min
Sun Ce starts seeing his favorite Daoist priest here, there, and everywhere.
035: Getting the Band Back Together
Apr 20, 2015 • 29 min
Liu Bei and his gang of loyal followers meet up for a reunion tour, with a few new faces in the mix.
034: O Brother, There Thou Art!
Apr 12, 2015 • 29 min
Guan Yu unexpectedly discovers a lost brother, who gives him a surprising welcome.
033: Organizational Communication Problems
Apr 5, 2015 • 29 min
Guan Yu leaves Xuchang with Cao Cao’s blessings. If only Cao Cao had bothered to tell the men guarding the checkpoints along the way ….
032: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Mar 23, 2015 • 30 min
Guan Yu does a couple huge favors for Cao Cao and then discovers Liu Bei’s whereabouts.
031: Three Is the Number Thou Shalt Count
Mar 16, 2015 • 30 min
As Guan Yu prepares to fight to the death against Cao Cao, an old friend gives him three reasons why that is a bad idea and three reasons for surrendering instead. Guan Yu responds with three conditions.
Supplemental Episode 003: The Deal with the Seal
Mar 9, 2015 • 15 min
We take a look at the history of the more-trouble-than-it’s-worth imperial hereditary seal that everyone wants and everyone seems to regret getting.
030: Forgetting the First Rule of Fight Club
Feb 22, 2015 • 30 min
Dong Cheng and company demonstrate how not to run a conspiracy.
029: Cao Cao’s Nemesis
Feb 16, 2015 • 30 min
While one of Cao Cao’s old enemies submit, he gets trolled by a new thorn in his side who just won’t shut up.
Supplemental Episode 002: Lü Bu, Fact and Fiction
Feb 2, 2015 • 10 min
We saw Lü Bu exit stage left a couple episodes back. In this supplemental episode, we take a look at the historical Lü Bu versus his fictional counterpart.
028: So Long, Sucker!
Feb 1, 2015 • 29 min
Liu Bei gets out of the capital and does not look back. Yuan Shu becomes distraught after discovering the scarcity of honey.
027: Defining “Hero”
Jan 18, 2015 • 29 min
Liu Bei develops a sudden interest in horticulture, while Cao Cao wonders out loud, “Who’s a hero?”
026: The Emperor’s Brother-in-Law’s New Clothes
Jan 11, 2015 • 30 min
With Cao Cao baring his imperial ambitions for all to see, the emperor does the only thing he can — give his brother-in-law a spiffy outfit.
025: Keeping Up with the Chens
Jan 4, 2015 • 30 min
While Chen Gong tries to help Lü Bu hold off Cao Cao, Chen Deng and Chen Gui run circles around them.
Announcement 2014-12-17: Holidays, Thank-Yous, and a Challenge
Dec 16, 2014 • 5 min
No new episodes until the new year, but listen to this brief announcement for some important info and holiday wishes.
024: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways
Dec 7, 2014 • 30 min
Cao Cao’s awesomeness draws much fawning from his adviser Guo Jia, while the people of Xu Province express their love for Liu Bei through cannibalism.
023: Dangerous Jobs
Nov 30, 2014 • 30 min
Who’s more likely to lose his head in this episode: impostor emperor or granary officer? The answer may surprise you.
022: Strange Bedfellows
Nov 23, 2014 • 30 min
Cao Cao decides that he hates Lü Bu more than he hates Liu Bei, so “Liu Bei and I are like brothers.”
021: Arrow of Diplomacy
Nov 16, 2014 • 29 min
Sun Ce lifts off, Lü Bu shows off, and Yuan Shu gets ticked off.
020: How the South Was Won
Nov 2, 2014 • 28 min
Priceless imperial heirloom as collateral? Check. An old pal as your strategist? Check. Ability to kill by the mere sound of your voice? Check, check, and check.
019: When Tigers and Wolves Share a Den
Oct 27, 2014 • 30 min
Cao Cao deploys animal-themed schemes to sow discord between Liu Bei and Lü Bu.
018: Cao Cao’s Big Break
Oct 13, 2014 • 31 min
The Han court hits rock bottom, at which point Cao Cao is all too happy to ride in and … umm … defend the honor and dignity of the throne. Yeah, that’s it.
017: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Not Scorned
Oct 6, 2014 • 30 min
Someone’s wife gets the wrong impression that her husband is cheating on her, and the next thing you know, we’re poisoning household pets, ingesting waste, burning palaces, and abducting everybody who’s anybody.
016: Respite, Restoration, Recap
Sep 23, 2014 • 26 min
After spending his down time picking off some ragtag rebels, Cao Cao moves to reclaim his territory, which brings us to a good point to look back at what we have covered so far.
015: Battle of Brain and Brawn
Sep 15, 2014 • 28 min
Cao Cao and Lü Bu face off for control of Yan Province in a back-and-forth attempt to out-trick and outfight each other. And then the locusts came ….
014: Much Ado About Nothing
Sep 8, 2014 • 29 min
Everyone gears up for a fight with Cao Cao over Xu Province, and then all of a sudden it’s the province nobody wants.
013: How to Get A Job with Cao Cao Inc.
Aug 18, 2014 • 29 min
Our old friend Cao Cao is expanding his operation. Want to join? You just need to either be a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of someone who already works there, or be a man-beast who kills dozens of coworkers with your bare hands…
012: But You Said They Were GOOD Omens
Aug 11, 2014 • 30 min
Dong Zhuo learns that broken chariots, wild horses, and melancholy songs are, in fact, not auspicious signs.
011: The Face That Launched A Thousand Halberds
Jul 28, 2014 • 30 min
Expertly manipulated by Diao Chan, Lü Bu and Dong Zhuo come to blows over who gets to go to bed with a 16-year-old.
010: Thanks A Lot, Dad!
Jul 21, 2014 • 31 min
Sun Jian leaves his son in charge, while Dong Zhuo leaves his son out in the cold for a pretty face.
009: Everywhere is War
Jul 5, 2014 • 28 min
Now that they are not fighting Dong Zhuo anymore, the former coalition leaders have to do something to occupy their time. What better way is there to avoid idleness than waging war against each other?
008: So That’s Where I Put That Seal
Jun 25, 2014 • 29 min
Dong Zhuo moves the capital and turns the journey into a traveling horror show as only Dong Zhuo can, while the coalition becomes distracted when it discovers the one thing of value that Dong Zhuo left behind.
007: A Brawl for the Ages
Jun 13, 2014 • 31 min
The coalition forces are marching for the capital, but first, they will have to get past Dong Zhuo’s top generals. The result is two of the most famous battlefield encounters in Chinese lore.
006: Ethics Lessons from Cao Cao
Jun 5, 2014 • 31 min
It’s a busy episode for Cao Cao. He gets out of a sticky situation, screws himself out of a delicious pork dinner, drops some life wisdom on his traveling companion, and then stirs up a whole lot of trouble for Dong Zhuo.
005: Dude, Check Out This Cool Knife I Got You
May 26, 2014 • 30 min
As Dong Zhuo rises to power, he bestows endless kindness on all mankind. He’s doing such a great job, in fact, that someone decides to give him a beautiful, bejeweled knife with a razor-sharp edge while he was lying down with his back turned.
Supplemental Episode 001: Yi Yin, Chef and Kingmaker
May 19, 2014 • 10 min
“Only with Yi Yin’s talent can you act like Yi Yin.” So who is this Yi Yin? We dive into the story behind one line of dialogue from episode 4.
004: Enter the Fat Man; AKA the Novel Really Starts
May 12, 2014 • 29 min
We’ve had rebellions, palace intrigue, a deadly power struggle, and a bloodbath at the imperial residence. But all of that was just the warm-up act. We are finally getting into the meat of the story, starting with ascension of Dong Zhuo, who’s like Santa…
003: Oh C’mon! Kill Them Already!
May 5, 2014 • 27 min
He Jin makes his officers bang their heads against walls with his pathological inability to dispose of the eunuchs. Meanwhile, a bit character from episode 1, Dong Zhuo, drops by the capital with 200,000 of his best friends, just to say hi and see what’s…
002: Trials and Tribulations of Chinese Officialdom
Apr 21, 2014 • 40 min
Liu Bei discovers that landing a government job in the Han court takes connections, patience, and a lot of dead rebels. And that’s BEFORE the leeches start ransoming you for a bribe. Fortunately, Zhang Fei resolves the matter diplomatically.
001: Bromance of the Three Warriors
Apr 11, 2014 • 40 min
The first episode finds the empire in turmoil and three men of valor vowing to do something about it.
000: Who Are You? What Are You Doing Here?
Apr 9, 2014 • 6 min
A quick overview of what I’ll attempt to do with this podcast. You can also read this explanation instead.