|Force(s):|| Yuan Shao's Forces|
Gongsun Zan's Forces
185 cm (6'1")
|Weapon Type:||Dragon spear|
|4th Weapon:|| |
Fierce Dragon (3~5)
Rising Dragon (WO3)
|Playable Debut:||Dynasty Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
趙雲 - 赵云
|Style name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
子龍 - 子龙
|Zhao Yun’s birth year is not known, although 168 AD seems very reasonable. Romance of the Three Kingdoms contains conflicting accounts of his age, thus cannot be used to determine his birth year. His death year 229 AD has also generated quite a controversy. Some historians have argued he might have died in 228 AD.|
|Mystic Weapon:|| |
|Personal Item:|| |
Zhuge Liang's Silk Purse
Zhao Yun (onyomi: Chō Un) is a general of the Three Kingdoms period who has a record of good service. Liu Bei personally praised his bravery at Han River. Romance of the Three Kingdoms and other local folklore commonly describes him as a just and virtuous general of peerless strength who has a deep sense of loyalty for Liu Bei. His lone rampage to protect A Dou remains one of his crowning feats in fiction. Years after his death he is lauded as one of the Five Tiger Generals.
His Dynasty Warriors incarnation is the mascot character of the series. He sometimes shares the spotlight with the series' other iconic character, Lu Bu. He consistently rides a white steed during in-game cutscenes. This persona also has two character image songs titled TRUE DRAGON and FIGHT IT OUT and a duet with Jiang Wei called MISSION.
Zhao Yun placed fourth place with fans in Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll. For the Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends character popularity poll, he placed first. In Famitsu's character survey, he is the most popular character within the boyfriend category. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in second. He is the most popular Dynasty Warriors character for the Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate Halloween costume poll. Fans ranked him second in Shin Sangoku Musou Online Z's first survey for most popular general.
In Kessen II, his character's height is the same as his Dynasty Warriors counterpart.
Role in GamesEdit
- "Your spear, I almost cannot trace its movements!"
- ~~Yukimura; Warriors Orochi
Zhao Yun originally serves Gongsun Zan, an early ally of Liu Bei. Often after Gongsun Zan's death, he enters the service of Liu Bei as he was drawn to the man's character and ideals. Depending on the title, he may appear as early as the Yellow Turban Rebellion or the Battle of Hu Lao Gate by Liu Bei's side. He continues to join Shu in their late campaigns against Wu and Wei, such as Yi Ling and Wuzhang Plains. Prior to the former battle, Zhao Yun is usually the general who openly protests seeking revenge for Guan Yu's death but his pleas fall on deaf ears.
In Dynasty Warriors 3, Zhao Yun is one of Liu Bei's fiercest defenders at Chang Ban. He is one of the three possible Shu officers to reinforce Sun Quan's army at Chi Bi, the other two being Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. He is also one of the generals who assist Pang Tong in his successful campaign to take over the kingdom of Shu from Liu Zhang at Cheng Du. Later, when Liu Bei invades Han Zhong, he provides reinforcements at Mt. Ding Jun and leads a crucial victory against Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He. He tries to convince his lord to put aside his rage over Guan Yu's death, but his suggestions are angrily rejected. Obligated to follow his lord, he joins the following battle with Sun Quan's army and contributes to unifying the land under Shu. Like many other characters, he also participates in the southern campaign against the Nanman tribe.
Zhao Yun's Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends has him charging alone through enemy troops to rescue Liu Bei's infant son, Liu Chan, at Chang Ban. Liu Bei is fleeing to reunite with Zhuge Liang's reinforcements and they can't spare Zhao Yun with any assistance. After he finds the young heir hiding in one of the town's crates, Cao Cao eventually notices his bravery and orders his army to capture him with the hopes of turning him to his side. Zhuge Liang bids Zhao Yun to escape, and during his flight, he is forced to defeat many of Wei's key generals. After he reaches Liu Bei, his lord is more pleased by Zhao Yun's safety than his son's.
His Musou Mode in Dynasty Warriors 5 depicts a different scenario for Zhao Yun. He starts serving Yuan Shao yet is disappointed that he can't sympathize with his lord's ideals. Due to their alliance, he acts as a part of Yuan Shao's army to suppress the Yellow Turbans at Ji Province. He continues to serve Gongsun Zan and helps suppress Dong Zhuo's rebellion at Hu Lao Gate. He then joins Liu Bei's army shortly before Chang Ban, the battle during which he boldly rushes through enemy troops to retrieve his lord's infant son, Liu Chan. He asks Zhang Fei to cover their escape and boosts ally morale when he and Liu Chan safely reach Liu Bei. Upon retaking Jing during the Battle of Chi Bi, Zhao Yun then participates in the Pacification of Cheng Du. After capturing Yi, Liu Bei finds out that Guan Yu was killed by Wu and vows to take revenge for his brother by recapturing Jing at Yi Ling. In his ending, Wu is defeated, and Zhao Yun continues to stay by Liu Chan's side after his lord's passing.
For his Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends, he and Huang Zhong fend off Cao Cao's army from invading Han Shui. Zhao Yun's mission is to prevent any enemy from crossing the bridge where he is stationed. Cao Cao responds by trying to overwhelm the warrior with his vast numbers. Reinforced by Zhuge Liang's arrival and Huang Zhong's sneak attack, the Shu army defends their territory and drives off Wei's army. This marks their first victory since the creation of the Three Kingdoms.
In Dynasty Warriors 6, he starts as the calm aide to the hot-headed Gongsun Zan. His chance meeting with Liu Bei changes his desires for the future and, after claiming victory at Hu Lao Gate, Zhao Yun deserts his liege to join the kind and fair general. He joins during the escape from Chang Ban and acts as the last defense when the army sails away from the docks. As he spends more time in the newly found kingdom, he becomes one of Shu's honorable zealots and one of his lord's empathetic supporters. He assures that his liege's decisions are just, even when Liu Bei doubts himself. When Shu unites the land, Zhao Yun is named as the land's new Commander, a rank that he humbly accepts when Liu Bei asserts his peaceful desires for the new land.
The seventh title has Zhao Yun begin his military service under Gongsun Zan. He is ordered by his master to accompany Liu Bei to aid Tao Qian at Xu Province. Impressed by Liu Bei's benevolent spirit, however, Zhao Yun gains a favorable reputation with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei. Presumably, Zhao Yun later leaves Gongsun Zan's services and tracks Liu Bei down whilst the lord is staying with Yuan Shao. Offering his allegiance to the virtuous leader, he valiantly starts his service by fighting at Guandu and guarding their retreat from Yuan Shao's accusations of treachery. As they later wander to Jing Province, Zhao Yun recruits a talented strategist to prepare themselves at Xinye. Though they succeed in repelling Cao Cao's first attack, their defenses falter and they retreat south. During the frenzied retreat through Changban, Zhao Yun finds and rescues an infant Liu Shan. He is later seen manning a boat at Chibi to defend Zhuge Liang's prayer for the winds.
Failing yet again to convince Liu Bei to stray from vengeance, Zhao Yun coordinates with Zhuge Liang's tactics to protect his lord at Yiling. When the tides turn, Zhao Yun knocks Liu Bei out and brings him back to safety while Zhuge Liang and Yue Ying hold the Wu forces off. After his participation at Tianshui, Zhao Yun is quietly written out of the story.
In his first Legendary Battle, Zhao Yun aids Gongsun Zan in his fight against Yuan Shao. Halfway through the fight, Liu Bei and his army arrive as back up, and Zhao Yun is impressed by his desire to bring peace to the land. His secondary Legendary Battle has him repel Wei forces as the Shu army make their escape from Ji Valley.
During the fifth chapter of Dynasty Warriors Next, Zhao Yun is introduced to Liu Bei after he quells Cao Cao's pursuing troops. He is first playable in the Battle of Xinye. At Changban, he is given a steeplechase event for his daring rescue of Adou. In Chengdu, he thwarts Liu Xun's ambush and protects his lord from assassins sent by Liu Zhang. He assists Zhuge Liang's plot to coerce Jiang Wei and encourages his lord to stay fast in their victory over Wu. Other scenarios depicts Zhao Yun as one of Shu's final defenders. He and Zhang Fei ambush Wei invaders while Wu's version has him attempt to assassinate Sun Quan yet fall against Lu Xun. Zhao Yun is the only Tiger General present in Jin's chapter.
Dynasty Warriors 8 has Zhao Yun mainly reprise his activities from the previous installment. At Yiling, he oversees Guan Xing and Zhang Bao's charge and, later at Tianshui, engages in a duel with Jiang Wei. Although he is impressed by Jiang Wei's skill and wants another duel, he is ordered by Zhuge Liang to capture him. He lives long enough to fight at Wuzhang Plains but does not appear in Jin's later storylines.
In the hypothetical path, Zhao Yun is seen alongside Liu Bei when Zhuge Liang informs him that Jing Province has been taken by Guan Yu. He arrives as reinforcements with the bulk of the Shu army to assist the campaign against Luoyang and participates in the final offensive against Wei, accompanying Liu Bei to defeat Cao Cao at Xuchang.
In Shu's Xtreme Legends hypothetical scenarios, Zhao Yun will first appear in Changban. Together with present forces, they turn around the situation by defeating Cao Cao's first wave, and hiding in nearby garrisons, ambushing the second wave. The second scenario retells his and his lord's escape from Wu when Zhou Yu and Sun Quan attempt to kill them after Liu Bei marries Sun Shangxiang in a bid to reclaim Jing province. The third scenario, he assists Fa Zheng in defending Mount Tiandang from Xiahou Yuan's continuous assault.
In Lu Bu's story, Zhao Yun's appears is among Gongsun Zan's forces at Hulao Gate and Changshan, but will not appear in subsequent stages. In Wu's expanded storyline, Zhao Yun will cover Liu Bei's retreat at the revised Yiling. If he is defeated prior to the fire attack, the Defense of Jiangling is unlocked. In Wei's story, Zhao Yun will appear among the forces defending the path to Zhuge Liang at Hanzhong, and he will assist Zhuge Liang and Guan Yu at Zitong and Maicheng respectively.
During Orochi's scenario, Zhao Yun acts as Liu Bei's personal bodyguard during their flight from Orochi's troops. Half way to the escape point, he parts from his lord to stop their pursuers and bide them more time. Unfortunately, his efforts proved to be in vain as the Serpent King's men took him and Liu Bei captive.
Zhao Yun is the de facto leader in the Shu story for Warriors Orochi. He assumes his lord has perished while being imprisoned by the serpent army in Ueda Castle. Rescued by Yoshihiro, Zuo Ci, and Xing Cai, he learns from the Taoist that Liu Bei is still alive. His spirits lifted and free from his prison, he leads the invigorated search effort for his lord. His quest leads him to various locations where many allies join his cause. With the help of his new friends, he manages to win back his former allies who were forced to serve under Orochi.
Resuming his services under Liu Bei in Warriors Orochi 2, Zhao Yun arrives as reinforcements for Ieyasu at Saika Village. During this battle, he fights alongside Wei Yan to prepare for the fire attack on the central garrison. When their lord wants to prevent Orochi's resurrection at Koshi Castle, Zhao Yun is the commander of the forces attacking Kiyomori. By the time he defeats Kiyomori, however, he learns he is too late to stop the incantation. He shares his dream mode with Yukimura and Yoshihiro as the trio faces hundreds of enemies to protect Liu Bei from harm at Itsukushima.
In the original timeline in Warriors Orochi 3, Zhao Yun was one of Liu Bei's close generals stationed at one of Chengdu's protective stations, Yangping Gate. Since Chengdu was overrun by the serpent forces, it's implied Zhao Yun lost his life in battle or went missing after his defeat. When a future Yukimura and company return to the past to gain Liu Bei and Ieyasu's trust, Zhao Yun and the defenders mistakenly think they have sworn loyalty to Da Ji. After he is bested in combat by them, Guan Yu explains the coalition's real intentions after the battle. Although taken aback by the story, the young warrior accepts it and joins their cause. As a member of the coalition, Zhao Yun aids Yukimura and Kanetsugu in their battle against their masters at Shizugatake. He also supports the plan to recruit Guo Jia at Fan Castle.
The Quiz Battle Toukiden collaboration event has Zhao Yun and Xiahouji be mysteriously teleported to Nakatsu Kuni. The general protects the maiden, but they are separated by another demon swarm. Zhao Yun is imprisoned within an Amakiri. He is freed after the protagonist defeats it. The Chinese duo seek to repay the debt by staying with their saviors, hoping to someday find a way back to their era. Whilst inside the demon, Zhao Yun heard the wails of the innocents it had devoured and is compelled to stay true to his lord's principles in this timeline. He asks the protagonist to guide him to a training area so he can improve himself.
Zhao Yun appears as a general for Shu in Kessen II, leading a sturdy army of foot soldiers into battle. He is a loyal captain for the Han empire and knows that Liu Bei is the last Han descendant. He helps the lord escape from Cao Cao and accompanies him when they meet Zhuge Liang. In a desperate outburst to recruit the strategist, Liu Bei shouts that he only cares about getting back Diao Chan. Once he realizes that Liu Bei doesn't care about the revitalization of the empire and won't give up his obsession for saving Diao Chan, Zhao Yun leaves in disgust.
During his lonesome journey across the country, he overhears the townsfolk favoring Liu Bei's leadership. After some consideration, Zhao Yun raises a peasant army and recruits Jiang Wei. With this army, he returns to Shu, convinced that it's more important to serve a lord that makes the people happy.
The reason why Zhao Yun is depicted as the "main hero" of the Dynasty Warriors series is due to Omega Force's goal to focus on the series being action based. Suzuki agrees that people who have read Romance of the Three Kingdoms would immediately nominate Liu Bei for the right. However, he believes that the leader didn't quite fit their particular dynamic for an active, fighting character. Therefore, the development team desired to highlight a particular general instead. Due to the novel's influence, they wanted a noteworthy general from Shu. They identified Zhao Yun as the figure they needed, since he is popularly known for his lone charge against thousands of soldiers.
He is kept intentionally young to contrast the older images fashioned for Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, and other generals in Shu. Tomohiko Sho remarked that fans complained to the company when Zhao Yun wasn't initially selectable in Dynasty Warriors 4. He is also Kenichi Ogasawara's favorite character.
For his Musou Stars reprisal, Onosaka's biggest struggle for Zhao Yun was calling out the other character names. He hopes everyone who enjoys Koei-Tecmo games enjoys this title.
Zhao Yun is usually one of Liu Bei's right-hand men, faithfully serving him for the good of the land as a calm yet valiant general. He is always courageous and heroic, facing impossible odds in stride. He has the utmost faith in his lord and, though he may not agree with all of his decisions, he believes in his lord's integrity. A compassionate and trustworthy man, he is also on good terms with the rest of Shu's men.
He particularly befriends Ma Chao as they both believe in justice and virtue. When Xingcai is introduced, Zhao Yun also acts as a kind mentor for her and worries for her safety. In the Warriors Orochi series, he offers his respects to Yukimura, Yoshihiro, Mitsuhide, and Taigong Wang.
Zhao Yun is strongly associated with the color white in several Three Kingdoms media, which is a callback to his appearance as stated in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. People can see an interpretation of him in the Summer Palace, which has a famous painting of his heroics at Changban. White is linked to several positive traits within various fictional mediums, including honesty, virtue, purity and so on. One other reason for Zhao Yun being linked with the color may be due to a myth regarding the horse the general favored. A quick steed in its own right, it is fabled to run one thousand leagues during the day and five hundred leagues at night. The horse's name is supposedly White Dragon (白龍駒, Bailong-ju). Within various cutscenes and NPC roles in the Dynasty Warriors series, Zhao Yun rides a horse mirroring its appearance.
Another strong image for Zhao Yun in various Three Kingdoms fiction is the idea of him wielding a spear, often said to be a long spear. Its name is roughly translated as "Shore Edge" (涯角枪, Yajiao-qiang) in legends and it allegedly makes an unnamed appearance in the Sanguozhi Pinghua. The weapon's revered namesake means that it "[has] none surpassing it, even in the heavenly sea of stars". Measuring in at a length of nine chi (approximately three meters or ten feet in modern conversions), Zhao Yun is said to have wielded it with magnificent skill. If one is to believe the tales, Zhao Yun used the same spear to defeat Zhang Fei in a duel. At times, Zhao Yun is associated with one of Cao Cao's twin swords from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In this tale, he killed Xiahou En while rescuing A Dou from peril.
Throughout the Dynasty Warriors series, Zhao Yun associates himself with a dragon. Aside from being a literal translation of his style name, the concept is additionally linked to Liu Bei's praise for Zhao Yun in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. During Chang Ban, Liu Bei mentioned his vassal fondly by style name and noted his vassal is filled with courage. Historically, Liu Bei is said to have praised his vassal in a similar matter after Zhao Yun's feat at Han River. Zhao Yun's third, fourth, and Standard weapons in Asian ports use key characters of the quote to form the name, "Brave Dragon". In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Zhao Yun is given the nickname of "The Blue Dragon" while the English version changes it to "The Blue Dragon of Battle". As a ruling general in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he calls his five greatest warriors the "Five Dragon Generals".
The original name for his Level 11 weapon is Nilin, which is again tied to the dragon motif for him. In Chinese mythology, each dragon has a special upside down scale, or nilin, growing on their throats. Normally, dragons are not easily provoked to attack people and are benevolent creatures. If their nilin is touched, however, they can hate humanity and others in an instant. The one who is responsible for touching their nilin is angrily killed within an instant. The Han Feizi equates the sudden act of violence to the temperament of a ruler. No matter how composed or friendly a monarch may be, subordinates who dare to poke at their leader's weak spots will suffer their ruler's unforgiving wrath.
Zhao Yun's personal item in Warriors Orochi references an episode in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Zhao Yun is entrusted by Zhuge Liang to escort Liu Bei to his arranged marriage to Lady Sun. Before he leaves, the strategist hands the general a special silk bag containing written stratagems and is told to read each one when a specific event occurs during their stay. Thanks to these instructions, Liu Bei's marriage and his escape from Wu goes smoothly.
- Terrence Stone - Dynasty Warriors 4~8, Dynasty Tactics 2, Kessen II, Warriors Orochi series; first and second games only (English-uncredited)
- Gerhard Acktun - Dynasty Warriors 3~4 (German-uncredited)
- Liu Mingxun - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Chinese)
- Gang Sujin - Dynasty Warriors 2, 4~5 (Korean)
- Jeong Hun Seok - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Korean)
- Masaya Onosaka - Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
- Hideo Ishikawa - Dynasty Tactics (Japanese)
- Masaya Takatsuka - Dynasty Tactics 2 (Japanese)
- Takeshi Kusao - Kessen II (Japanese), Sangokushi Koumeiden, Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
- Kousuke Takaguchi - Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII (Japanese)
Live Action PerformersEdit
- See also: Zhao Yun/Quotes
- "I was only able to reach this rank due to everyone's support. Thank you very much!"
- "All unworthy foes, flee now or face certain death!"
- "My lord! My lord, where are you? I've been looking for you to tell about this result... Ah, I'm sorry I'm late to say this, but thank you to those who voted for me. I'll continue my will to devote without being too proud of this first place."
- "Second, huh... I hear there's a really narrow margin with the first. If there's a next time, I shall continue my diligence to aim for the top. First and foremost, Zhao Zilong shall march on towards Dynasty Warriors 9!"
- "Is this how you repay kindness, child?"
- "I fight only for those who value truth!"
- ~~Yuan Shao and Zhao Yun; Dynasty Warriors 5
- "I want you to teach me how to fight."
- "Young master, I've waited years to hear you say that. I shall teach you all I know!"
- "Truly? My thanks! Now I don't have to worry about Xing Cai killing me."
- "What was that? You fear Xing Cai more than you do me?"
- ~~Liu Shan and Zhao Yun; Dynasty Warriors 7
- "You're strong, how come you don't want to start your own clan?"
- "I am no leader. It is only my lord who is fit to lead this land."
- "I guess it's moot, as you'll be dead shortly."
- ~~Da Ji and Zhao Yun; Warriors Orochi
- "On my life, I will allow no one to harm Lord Liu Bei."
- "That's the spirit. Show me what that spear can do!"
- "I will provide you with all the spear you could ever desire!"
- ~~Zhao Yun and Keiji; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Master Zhao Yun, the way you wield a spear is always impressive. Perhaps you might be willing to share some of your techniques with me?"
- "Your own skills are nothing to be scoffed at, my lord. I doubt there is anything I can teach you."
- "No, there is definitely something in your technique that I don't see in myself. I can sense it."
- ~~Yukimura and Zhao Yun; Warriors Orochi 3
- "These natural disasters are not caused by Liu Bei! Cao Cao built a government against the will of the people! That's the cause!"
- ~~Zhao Yun returning to Liu Bei; Kessen II
- See also: Zhao Yun/Movesets
|Keys:||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Dynasty Warriors 7Edit
Zhao Yun is affiliated with the spear in this appearance. When he is equipped with it, he can perform a unique attack exclusive to him. Upon performing his Musou techniques, he will automatically use the weapon in his attacks.
- EX Attack: , , , : Thrusts his spear forward in a charge, energy-drilling his target upward into the sky upon connecting.
- Musou - Flying Dragon (飛龍閃): : Charges straight ahead, surrounded by a powerful aura. Classified as a Multi-strike Musou in Next and used in Warriors Orochi 3.
- Aerial Musou - Dragon Wave (風龍波): , : Throws the spear into the ground while airborne, hitting enemies in a large area.
Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme LegendsEdit
Zhao Yun is affiliated with the dragon spear in this appearance. His EX Attack and Musous remain unchanged. Although it should be noted that his EX Attack deals much more damage than when he was affiliated with his original moveset.
- Dynasty Warriors Next
- Speed Musou - Blast: Tap both sides of screen: Zhao Yun sends out multiple energy waves while running around the battlefield twirling his spear. Upon ending the assault, he then performs a diagonal spinning leading to a slam on the ground.
- Warriors Orochi 3
Character type changed from Technique to Speed. Loses the ability to critically hit, but gains the ability to air dash and jump cancel, along with a new Type Action.
- , : Descends downward to smash the ground, causing nearby foes to lose their balance.
- , : An air dash that makes him temporarily invincible. Zhao Yun rolls forward through the air.
- R1: Pierces enemy with a rushing charge to scoop them with a lifting strike, then slams launched targets into the ground which sends a vertical air slash forward a distance.
- , R1 (Ultimate only): Somersaults high into the air and drives spear on the ground via a diving slide to throw a vertical air slash forward similar to his grounded R1.
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Zhao Yun keeps the same moveset from the previous title with the following additions.
- EX Attack 2 (Xtreme Legends only): , : Performs a quick ascending spin before unleashing a vertical swing upon landing.
- Alternate Musou - Heavenly Dragon Wave (烈翔・天龍波): R1 + : Performs a flurry of slashes that vary in range and direction. The attack ends with a strike that knocks the closest foe away.
- Awakening Musou: Performs a vertical spinning attack continuously. It ends with a sudden push which releases a powerful burst of energy. The extended version of the attack evolves the first phase into a series of fiery twirling slashes while running around before launching affected foes with a horizontal swipe.
Musou ☆ Stars Edit
- , , : Same as before, but without the spin after a stab.
- , , , : Same as before, but with a water dragon.
- , , , , , : Zhao Yun spins in the air and ends with a slash down.
- : Same as Normal Musou. Instead of just spinning, he unleashes a water dragon in front of him.
- Hero Skill
- Storm Rush: charges through enemies, knocking them upwards.
- Awakened Skill
- Dragon's Roar: same as Storm Rush but adds a temporary attack boost.
- Combined Skill
- See also: Zhao Yun/Weapons
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Zhao Yun still uses the dragon spear as his default weapon in this title.
Zhao Yun was born in Chángshān, Zhengding. The names of his relatives are unknown though he is mentioned to have a father and older brother. The Record of Three Kingdoms writes that he was 8 chi (approx. 189 cm or 6'2") tall and had a remarkably splendid appearance. He was recommended to join the military and was known to bravely lead troops under Gongsun Zan. When his lord clashed with Yuan Shao's army in Qingzhou, Zhao Yun was sent to aid Tian Kai. Through the latter's influence, he met Liu Bei and became a cavalry commander for him.
To mourn the sudden passing of his older brother, Zhao Yun left Liu Bei and returned to Gongsun Zan. Another reason for his departure has also been Yuan Shao's expansion in 192, which threatened his homeland. In 200, Liu Bei relied on Yuan Shao for a time in Ye and Zhao Yun worked hard to be recognized by Liu Bei, organizing and training hundreds of troops. He eventually became Liu Bei's subordinate.
Liu Bei left Yuan Shao with time and, in 208, he was fleeing from Cao Cao's massive army. Liu Bei had abandoned his family and traveled with his closest retainers. When their army was passing through Jingzhou, Zhao Yun voluntarily went back to retrieve Liu Bei's wife and child, Lady Gan and A Dou. When Cao Chun captured Liu Bei's two daughters, Zhao Yun rescued A Dou and Lady Gan from seemingly impossible odds. For his efforts, he was promoted to General of the Standard. In the same year, he also participated in the battles in Guiyang. Zhao Fan tried to marry his older brother's widow to him. Zhao Yun declined and said, "Zhao Fan surrendered only recently and we don't know what lies underneath his skin. Besides, there are plenty of women in this world." The incident made Liu Bei realize Zhao Yun's true character and, pleased with the reply, he soon sent his vassal to Liuying.
During the time Zhuge Liang joined in 213, Zhao Yun worked with Zhang Fei to suppress various provinces in Shu. Zhao Yun came from Jiangzhou of the river his comrade traveled and headed west to Chengdu. He was named General Yijun for his services. There is a story saying that Zhao Yun opposed his lord's distribution of the local farmland after his lord conquered Yizhou. Liu Bei wanted to give the locals' lands to his army but dropped the idea with Zhao Yun's persuasion.
Zhao Yun also took part in the Battle of Mount Dingjun. According to Zhao Yun's records and the Zizhi Tongjian, Huang Zhong attacked Cao Cao's food supply while Zhao Yun was returning from an unrelated scouting mission. When his comrade did not return, Zhao Yun rode out with a handful of men to check on him. He was soon surrounded by Cao Cao's army and, though he charged through enemy lines, he eventually decided to retreat back to his base to tend to his fallen comrades. Cao Cao's troops pursued but stopped when they saw the gates open, as if inviting them to enter. To avoid the threat of an ambush, Cao Cao had his troops withdraw. Liu Bei heard of Zhao Yun's heroism and said, "Zilong is filled with bile!" Bile was believed to have greatly contributed to the amount of courage one had. He was nicknamed "General of Tiger Valour" from then on.
When Liu Bei went to attack Sun Quan in 222, the Shu army were greatly determined to win at Xiaoting. Zhao Yun, however, expressed his distaste for the battle and remained in Jiāngzhōu. As a result, he was completely unharmed during the conflict.
Two years later, he was eventually promoted to the General who Guards the East. He was stationed in Hanzhong with Zhuge Liang in 227. In the following year, he and Deng Zhi were ordered to distract Cao Zhen's large army while Zhuge Liang led a separate attack on Mount Qi. From the start, however, Zhao Yun knew that the tide of battle was against them and eventually issued a retreat to avoid losing huge numbers. To ensure his men's safety, Zhao Yun personally guarded his army's flank. His army didn't lose many war supplies and they were able to re-distribute resources with other armies. Zhuge Liang offered to reward him, but he declined since it was still a defeat. Taking responsibility for the loss, he was demoted. He passed away and was succeeded by his eldest son, Zhao Tong, in 229.
In 261, Wei Yan said the following regarding Zhao Yun: "A gentle, affectionate, wise, miraculous being who called the land to order. With him, neither accidents or disasters could disturb the peaceful balance he created. I think it reasonable to call him the true general of peace."
In literature and folklore he is lauded as the third member of the Five Tiger Generals.
Zhao Yun, after Killing Xiahou En, obtained "Qinggang" (青釭), a sword that Xiahou En was carrying for Cao Cao. Seeing Zhao's bravery, Cao Cao wanted him captured with the hopes of turning him to his side, and so ordered pursuit. While Zhao Yun was fleeing, he encountered many generals who attempted to capture him.
A popular folktale based on a Chinese opera details his death. It said he was accidentally killed by his wife, Lady Sun Ruan Er, who used a needle. Due to him coming from every battle victorious and unscathed, he was called the Long-Winning General. His wife did not believe these claims and as a jest poked him with a needle to break his winning streak. Through the small wound the needle had created, Zhao Yun bled to death. Devastated by what she had done, she kills herself with her husband's sword.
- As a part of the Yoshimoto Musou Project for Dynasty Warriors 7, Japanese comedian from the Yoshimoto performance group, License Fujiwara, acted out a skit of him dressed as Zhao Yun. He defeats several Wei "soldiers".
- The first Blu-Ray/DVD original short for TV anime Kuragehime (Kuragehime Heroes Sono Ichi Mayaya-sama no Maki) includes the younger Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI portrait of Zhao Yun.
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