The Best Total War Three Kingdoms Mods

By Sean Martin 22 Jul 2020 1

Mods have always been a huge part of the Total War experience and with every new Total War release that community has only grown larger. We’ve seen modders doing more than ever, filling in the gaps and creating content that CA may never get around to adding themselves across both fantasy and historical.

Total WarThree Kingdoms is the most popular and innovative historical Total War we’ve seen in years. Also being based in such a popular historical period, and being of so much interest to the Chinese gaming community, there have been a tonne of mods.

These not only add elements to make character even more distinctive, but also offer a touch of individuality to players, which feels very at home in a historical period, which at its heart, is about heroes.

What are the best Total War: Three Kingdoms Mods?

  • Make them Unique (Overhaul)
  • Wu Kingdaissance (Overhaul)
  • Beneath A Red Sky: A Battle Overhaul (Overhaul)
  • All Factions Playable (Quality of Life)
  • No Death by Old Age (Quality of Life)
  • Vanilla Units Remaster (Quality of Life)
  • Recruited unique character can use their special units (Quality of Life)
  • Respec Character Skills when they join you (Quality of Life)
  • 10 Turns Per Year (Utility)
  • SFO: Three Dragons (Total Conversion)

Unless otherwise stated, all mods are compatible up to the latest version (Patch 1.5.3) and all DLCS.

Total War: Three Kingdoms Overhaul Mods

Make them Unique

The Three Kingdom’s period was filled with famous individuals, and to reflect this, there is a record of almost every named character in the game. But it can often be hard to appreciate their individuality when most of the characters use the same few repeated portraits. Make Them Unique is a mod that fixes this, creating new unique heroes alongside absolutely gorgeous artwork.

make them unique2

It is a mod that fills a gap, adding unique portraits, skills and items, to heroes who should’ve had them in the base game. These are figures like Dong Min (who as Dong Zhou’s brother is hugely important) or Lu Zheng (the heir to Zheng Jiang’s bandit faction). Since Mandate of Heaven, and A World Betrayed, many more have been added, which has also bolstered Three Kingdom's lack of unique female characters, with Lady Feng, Yuan Anyang, and Lady Du. Altogether it adds a touch more colour to the character-play of the Three Kingdoms campaigns.

This mod has had a major update recently, but is currently only officially compatible up to Version 1.5.2.

Wu Kingdaissance

Since Mandate of Heaven and A World Betrayed, tonnes of characters from the setting have been brought to life with unique portraits and items. But that still leaves many, many more who still deserve them. Wu Kingdaissance is a mod which essentially reskins all the major characters in Three Kingdoms, giving them new weapons, armour, ancillaries, models, mounts, and abilities.

Wu Kingdaissance mod

It's pretty significant considering it has altered over 300 characters in the game, even going so far as to make previously unplayable characters, like Empress He and Liu Hong, usable on the battlefield. It adds a ton more personality and presence, to already character-filled campaigns. 

Beneath A Red Sky: A Battle Overhaul

A recent criticism by many long time historical strategy fans, has been based around Total War battles becoming ever shorter and more ‘arcade-like’. Whether you believe that or not, Beneath A Red Sky is a battle mod which attempts to capture a slower tactical battle experience, as the author says, more in line with “What you would expect from an ancient battle”.

The mod itself affects a variety of changes — whether altering unit roles, so spearmen push back enemies, and axe infantry act as shield-breakers, or an overhauled fatigue system, with larger detriments on morale and combat aptitude. A full list of changes can be found in the Steam Workshop, but Beneath A Red Sky might very well be the mod for those hoping to re-capture the slower battle experience of the Total Wars of yesteryear.

Beneath A Red Sky

Note that this mod was remade at some-point after publication with a new download link, which we have upated. It is compatible with the latest patch.

Total War: Three Kingdoms Quality of Life Mods

All Factions Playable

This is a new quality of life mod that's come out of the Chinese community, and as such is in native Chinese languages by default. There is however translation add-ons available for English, Vietnamese & Korean. Otherwise, All Factions Playable does exactly what it says on the tin - it makes every faction playable across all start dates.

3k mods all factions playable

It's compatible with some other popular mods, such as Make them Unique above, but there are special compatibility instructions on the mod page so make sure you pay attention.

No Death by Old Age

In my first campaign Lü Bu lived a good life — he murdered thousands of peasants with his nuke-spear, and married Zheng Jiang, siring a new generation of super-soldier warriors. But somehow it didn’t seem right for The Warrior Without Equal to die at a contented old age. With the mod, No Death by Old Age, you can prevent all your characters from dying peacefully, instead forcing them to keep fighting for the glory of China! This mod also wins first prize for best cover picture (Huang Zhong being the most famous ‘Elderly’ character from the Three Kingdoms period).

Note: This mod was updated so that Tao Qian die as normal, between the age of 62 & 65. This is becuse this character's death is integral to Liu Bei's storyline. This mod hasn't been updated since August 2019, and we're unsure if it's compatible with the latest patch.

Vanilla Units Remaster

After playing Three Kingdoms for awhile, units can begin to look a little samey. It’s not necessarily the difference between the units themselves, but more the ornamentation of individuals within those units. Vanilla Units Remaster by Deema is a mod which seeks to make units “look better while still maintaining their original feel and historical authenticity”.

Vanilla Units Remaster

This features changes such as reskinning general’s bodyguards, adding ornamental weapons to higher tier units, and just generally adding more variety wherever possible. These are little things, but they do add a further element of variety to battles. If you're looking for something a little more recent and DLC specific, have a look at this A World Betrayed Unit Remaster instead.

Recruited unique character can use their special units

In Three Kingdoms, each faction has a special unit they can recruit, and the unique heroes belonging to that faction are the ones with that ability. But when another faction gains that hero, they lose the ability to recruit their previous factions unique unit. Recruited unique character can use their special units, is a mod which ties that faction unit recruitment to a skill, meaning that even if you recruit them into your faction, they will still have access to that special unit — a way of further emphasizing their individuality as a hero character.

Respec Character Skills when they join you

We’ve all been there. After turns and turns currying favour with a faction, you finally confederate them, getting that hero character you’ve had your eyes on for the past 20 turns. But lo and behold, despite them being an outstanding warrior, the AI has for some reason decided to upgrade them as an administrator instead.

Respec Character Skills when they join you

With Respec Character Skills when they join you, this will never be a problem again. When a new hero joins your faction, you’ll simply have the option to re-allot all of their skill points, focusing them for whatever role you have in mind.

Note: Some characters in Mandate of Heaven have innate skills that aren't effected by this mod. Also, this mod may not work with the latest patch.

Total War: Three Kingdoms Utility Mods

10 Turns Per Year

Adjusting the amount of turns that comprise an in-game 'calendar' year is not a new concept, and we're not surprised to see one released for Three Kingdoms. As there are five seasons in 3K, this mod effectively doubles the length of a year by making each season spread across two turns. There is also a 15 turns per year variant, if you're completely mad.

This mod comes with a couple of hiccups, like for example Zheng Jiang's portrait will look like a baby for a couple of turns. Users have also reported some weird bugs associated with playing the Sun family and generally some age-related issues still persist, so just be aware.

Total War: Three Kingdoms Total Conversion Mods

SFO: Three Dragons

I can only speak for the English language mods (Three Kingdoms has an extremely prevalent Chinese modding community) but SFO’s Three Kingdoms mod is the most significant. Three Dragons is a mod which, in the words of its creators “changes every aspect of TW:3K to be more interesting and challenging”. These changes include reworked battles, UI, units, terrain effects, heroes, literally everything you can think of.

SFO Three Dragons

Many of you might know the SFO team and their founder, Venris, for their amazing work on Total War: Warhammer 1 and 2 overhaul mods. Knowing their work, however, I do think it’s the Three Kingdom’s rework to watch, and that given more time, and their skills, it’ll become a great mod. You can see a full list of changes so far here.

What are your favourite mods so far for Total War: Three Kingdoms? Let us know in the comments!

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