Chao Gai, also known as Pagoda-Shifting Heavenly King, is one of the major characters in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Water Margin by the late Shi Nai'an, and its multiple adaptations. He is the leader of Dongxi Village and a close friend of Wu Yong, Gong Sunsheng, Liu Tang and Yu brothers.
On one occasion, Liu Tang accidentally heard a news of a royal escort escorting some birthday gifts to the royal tutor Cai Jing. They passed near Dongxi Village. He fell asleep after being drunk in a dilapidated temple, and Lei Heng, who was patrolling, made a mistake because some people wanted to commit crimes and were arrested. Later, Lei and his soldiers stopped to rest in the East Village, and Chao Gai recognized Liu Tang, who was captured by Li. Chao Gai to Lei Heng, Liu Tang is his nephew instead of some wanted criminals, so Lei finally released Liu Tang. Liu Tang was still dissatisfied with Lei Heng's arrest of him for no reason, and tried to sneak a revenge. The two fought a battle and were later stopped by Chao Gai.
Liu Tang told Chao Gai and other people about the birthday gift team, they decided to rob it. Seven of them became worshippers and later disguised as date traders. They managed to snatch the birthday gift team, which was escorted by Yang and his soldiers. They were also disguised to avoid the attention of the gangsters, following Wu Yong’s excellent strategy and Baisheng’s help.
Unfortunately, Bai Sheng was caught and despite serious torture, he refused to tell the authorities that Zhao and others were involved, although the authorities already knew it. Song Jiang warned Zhao Chao and others that the government asked them to rob their birthday gifts and they were preparing to flee Dongxi Village. Zhu Xi and Lei Heng, who were assigned to arrest Zhao and his friends, released them with justice and friendship. Chao Gai and his friends defeated He Tao's troops in a fierce battle and successfully fled to Liangshan to take refuge. Wang Lun, the chief of the Liangshan bandit, allowed them to stay in Liangshan for a while, although he was not happy inside, because the new hero threatened his chief position. Wang Lun tried to send them away with valuable gifts, but Gaiqi and his friends protested that they had nowhere else to take refuge and asked the king to allow them to stay.
Under the clever urging of Wu Yong, Lin Yong stood up for the hero and killed the narrow-minded and incompetent Wang Lun. Then, Lin invited Chao Gai to take over the post of the new position, Chao Gai agreed. Chao Gai did not waste time recruiting Wang Lun's former representatives Song Wei and Du Qian. Chao Gai participated in some movements against the enemy of Liangshan, but most of the time, he let Song Jiang lead the hero to stay in Liangshan in the battle. Once, he personally led the army against Zengjia Village, where he met his fate. Zengs once snatched a precious horse called "Jade Lion" from Liangshan and defeated Liu Tang. Chao Gai was very angry and wanted to teach the arrogant Zengs a lesson. They further angered him by insulting Liangshan, so he personally led a campaign against Zengs. In the battle, he was shot in the forehead by a poisonous arrow shot by an archery master, Shi-wen Gong, who served the Zeng Family Village.
However, Chao Gai was poisoned in his wound for a while. His dying words are; no matter who can capture Shi Wengong, he will take over as the chief. But later on, Lu Junyi finally captured Shi Wengong in the battle, and Shi was executed as a sacrifice to Chao Gai's spirit. According to Chao Gai's dying words, Lu Junyi should be the ultimate successor, but Liang Shan's hero would rather choose Song Jiang, so Song Jiang served as leader and Lu Junyi held the second position.
- Despite his early death, Chao Gai is arguably the "Bigger Good" of the story as a whole (with Song Jiang as the Big Good, as he was the one responsible for the building up of the rebellion, but was not directly involved in the main story of the rebellion.