|That's the beauty of it all, my son. If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.|
|Chronological and political information|
Empress of Blood (nominal)
Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist
Speak Language: Drow Sign Language, Ride, Spellcraft, Spot
General Tarquin is the Lawful Evil chief warlord for the armies of the Empress of Blood and, along with Malack, one of the de facto leaders of the Empire of Blood. He founded and leads the Vector Legion. He is father to twin sons Nale and Elan.
Tarquin was once married to Elan's mother, a Chaotic Good barmaid. The two had twins, Elan and Nale. When Tarquin and his wife divorced due to "Irreconcilable Alignment Differences", the twins were separated: Elan remained with his mother, while Nale followed his father and was raised as an evil character.
|“||Ah, see, now, my Father was a cold and ruthless general of a nigh unstoppable army. He told me he had abandoned my goody-two-shoes mother in some small backwards village.||”|
Mercenary on the Western ContinentEdit
Hearing how easy it was to make a kingdom in the Western Continent, Tarquin took little Nale with him and claimed rule over a region of the continent. However, he soon learned that the ease with which land could be conquered led to very unstable kingdoms, and his crown was soon taken away from him. Following this defeat, he gathered his old adventuring party together—Malack, Laurin Shattersmith, Miron Shewdanker, Jacinda and an unknown human fighter—to propose a plan for eventual conquest of the Western Continent. The six split into three separate teams, offering their services as freelance warlords and advisors to the various kingdoms across the continent, gradually becoming the power behind the throne. Through a careful system of manipulating various nations and tribes to attack each other, offering conquest and then liberation, they are able to force them into alliance with one of their three empires—the Empire of Blood, Empire of Sweat and Empire of Tears. Over fifteen years Tarquin's group had secured control of much of the continent, arranging various staged coups to keep anyone from noticing the same six people are operating behind the sidelines.
Two years before the the Order arrived in the Western Continent, Tarquin aided the Empress of Blood in establishing her Empire of Blood, replacing his previous puppet kingdom of Tyrinaria. However, Nale soon tried to overthrow her and seize the throne for himself. Tarquin and Malack sided with the Empress and defeated him, forcing Nale to flee. His father issued a bounty on his son's head.
Order of the StickEdit
—I am your father. Man, I've been waiting forever to say that line!
Blood Runs in the FamilyEdit
Enor and Gannji mistook Elan for Nale, attempting to collect the bounty. They captured Elan, V and Haley and brought them to the Palace of Blood, where the three attempted to escape. They were single-handedly stopped and re-captured by Tarquin, who pushed Haley off the balcony and forced V to use their last available Featherfall spell for the day, effectively trapping them. He returned them to the throne room, where he testified that Elan is not Nale, but in fact Nale's twin brother, and revealed his relationship as their father, to the shock of everyone present. Later, he wrote a note to Gannji, which read "No one extorts money [8000 gp] from me in front of my son. I look forward to seeing you die in the arena," adding (via his messenger) that Gannji should "Pray I don't alter it further".
Ironically, Tarquin would later team up with his son after he gave him information about the Snarl's gates, becoming Roy's counterpart in the Linear Guild, pretending to be Thog. He then attacked the Order single-handedly, doing reasonably well at first, but then being stabbed through the foot and back by Order members. He then revealed that the was wearing enchanted items to regenerate from these injuries. His helmet was knocked off by Roy, however he was prepared for this as well and wore a mask underneath.
Deciding to give Nale the chance to impress him, he and Kilkil left him to his own devices. However, Nale chose to slay Malack while he was off preparing his big entrance, leaving Tarquin alone to rule over the Empire of Blood. He then appeared with a huge army of the Empire in the desert to take over the pyramid and to impress his sons. After surrounding the crater left by the destruction of The Gate, he called for Elan and Haley to join him and introduced them to Laurin Shattersmith. After learning that The Gate was destroyed, he confessed that he was thinking of destroying it anyway. After he rejected a final offer by his father to accept his protection, Tarquin killed Nale.
Elan and Haley discovered that he had ordered Jacinda and Miron to kill the ambassador of Reptilia, because he found the truth about Tarquin being the power behind the throne, and since he had recently escaped from his gladiatorial arena, he framed Ian Starshine for the murder of the ambassador. And furthermore, having learned that Ian is Haley's father, he used the frame-up to test if Haley was worthy of Elan.
After that, he ordered his army to kill Roy, Belkar and Durkon, who are inside the crater. He explained he has to kill his friends in order to Elan to create his own party and become the leader, so he can become the hero that Tarquin wants him to be instead of being a supporting character. Haley and Elan decided to help their friends instead, but his army refused to fight Elan. The army would have been succesful, but V surprisingly rejoins the Order, after his soul was held in the Lower Planes due to V's debt from the Soul Splice, giving them an advantage. He tried to make Miron and Laurin to join the fight, but they refused since fighting the Order does not benefit them in any way. The Order took control Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator and tried to escape. He decided to go after them and calls for an old favor from Miron and strikes a deal with Laurin in order that they join him, riding a triceratops. After a long chase using Laurin's wormholes, they polymorphed Bloodfeast, only to lose their ride, thanks to V's Prismatic Spray. They then attacked on foot, but the Order hurt Miron so much that his Contingency spell made him leave the battle. With the help of Laurin he subdued the Order and stabbed Elan with Roy's sword, in order to also stab Roy who was under Elan. When he tried to force Elan to do things his way, he was distracted by the noise of the Mechane and the arrival of Julio Scoundrél—who was an old nemesis of Tarquin—riding a flying carpet. He fought Julio while pointing out that the mentor always gets killed by the hero's enemy. Meanwhile, the Order escaped to Julio's ship. He shredded Julio's carpet and called for Laurin. Together, they tried to flank Julio, but Elan shot a harpoon from the Mechane that almost hit him. He complained that Elan missed but was happy Elan was at least trying to kill him. But then Julio cut the rope attached to the harpoon and informed Tarquin that the harpoon was launched to help Julio escape, not to kill Tarquin.
He gave chase using a Laurin's wormhole and stabs Haley in the back, starts attacking Elan, only to receive a Sneak Attack from Haley. Then he turns around and broke her arm. Then he threatened Elan by telling him that in order to crush him, he will kill Haley and everyone aboard the ship and cut off Elan's hand. But he was stopped by V's Bugsby's Forceful Hand spell. When he was almost dropped from the ship, Laurin dispelled the hand and started fighting V, but he shouted that the Elf is not important. After V pointed out that they still had an advantage, as V has hardly used any spells, Laurin teleported out, leaving Tarquin to fight alone.
Still clinging onto the side of the airship, Tarquin desperately attempted to negotiate the continuing of the plotline, suggesting that Elan simply capture him. Haley then fired two arrows at him in a ploy to make Tarquin catch both, and he nearly fell off the ship only barely managing to catch the rim with one hand. Elan noted the similarity of the scene with his rescue of Nale in the Dungeon of Dorukan, but then allowed Tarquin to fall off the Mechane, saying that he saved Nale because he was the good twin, but now, "I'm not a twin anymore" and told Tarquin that he'll live. Tarquin fell to the desert below, surviving and shouting after the departing Order of the Stick that the plotline is unfinished, that Elan hasn't grown at all, and that "This is a terrible ending!"
Tarquin's current whereabouts and activities are unknown, but he was returned to his castle by Laurin.
Tarquin wears a set of armor, which seems to have changed since when Elan and Nale were babies. (It is later revealed that his current set has a glamor on it so that he doesn't have to get a new set every time he changes his pretended allegiance.) His appearance is remarkably similar to Elan and Nale's, except for his grey hair. He had brown hair when he was younger; Elan and Nale's blond hair comes from their mother.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Tarquin's personality seems to reflect Elan's happy-go-lucky approach: he is friendly, hospitable, and mostly is seen with a smile, in contrast to his "Evil Warlord" identity However, he is more intelligent and more evil than Elan, which suggests that Nale's personality, as well as his outlook, might have come from his father. Also, it is revealed that Tarquin uses his influence as general to satisfy personal vendettas.
Beneath his charming demeanor, however, is a psychopath obsessed with having things done the way he wants them done with little regard for the feelings of others. He also considers himself to be far more important than he really is, assuming that the story is about him and Elan, dismissing Xykon as a minor villain and trying to kill most of the Order when he thinks they are getting in the way of Elan's heroic potential. His desire to have things done his way no matter what is also shown when he rejects Miron's suggestion of having Jacinda kill Roy in his sleep because he wants the death to be as traumatic and scarring as possible to make Elan become more heroic.
His approach can also be channeled to effectively solving problems and clearly explaining situations. He has a true love for the dramatic, something that Elan also inherited for him, and he goes to great lengths in order to properly achieve this. For example, he intentionally neglected to inform the twins of the other's existence in order to increase the potential for dramatic tension should they ever encounter each other as adults, which is something that Elan had suspected the entire time.
However, he also takes this to a degree that leaves even Elan horrified, such as believing that killing off most of the Order will do little harm to their quest to protect the Gates, reasoning that a hero of Elan's standards will be able to easily replace them with near identical members, all because that's how stories work.
Tarquin has had 9 wives (including Nale and Elan's mother) in approximately two and a half decades; this indicates that, on average, he was married to each for around three years. Several of his wives—including his ninth, Penelope—died due to "mysterious circumstances" (i.e. Vaarsuvius' Familicide spell). It is also shown that he will force a woman to marry him if she refuses him, leading Julio Scoundrél to rescue more than a few.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Combat Prowess: Tarquin's class is not known. He may be a Fighter, given his combat ability, but he could be a number of other classes or be multiclassed. Tarquin is very able in battle, capable of holding his own against the Order of the Stick even while holding back. He is skilled, well armed and well armored, having been able to block Elan's rapier with a single finger. Furthermore, he is a cunning strategist in combat, evidenced by his status as a warlord and, more directly, by his ease in single-handedly thwarting the Order's attempt to escape the Palace of Blood. He has been seen wielding his intelligent great axe, Soul-Muncher, and a sword and shield at different points in time.
- Snatch Arrows: Tarquin twice demonstrates the ability to snatch not one but two arrows in a single combat round. This is beyond the capability of the Snatch Arrows feat. It is unknown if this is an epic feat or if he has a magic item which grants him this ability.
- Dramatic Knowledge: Much like his son Elan, Tarquin has a fondness for the dramatic and is aware of certain fiction elements encountered in stories, and has often stated that he believes Bards to be underpowered due to their own knowledge of stories. In fact, he weaponized his knowledge by placing himself in the role of the "evil overlord", using it to help his companions and himself during their adventures and in their plot to conquer most of the Western Continent. However, he is limited by his narrow vision of his own role in the story.
- Drow Sign Language: Tarquin is well-versed in Drow sign language, which he uses it to communicate to the deaf Zz'dtri. He demonstrates it in a presumably short time while carrying the unconscious Nale. He later comments that he hoped to teleport to Bleedingham, "but such are the limits of sign language."
Weapons and EquipmentEdit
- Soul Muncher: Tarquin's magical axe has an intelligence of its own. Howerver, he lost the weapon in Girard's Pyramid, which subsequently was destroyed when Girard's Gate exploded. It is not known if the axe survived, or if Tarquin regained possession of the item.
- Glamoured Plate Armor: Tarquin's armor takes several appearances throughout the story; he uses permanent glamours on it to avoid needing to constantly replace the armor when he changes his identity.
- Two Rings of Regeneration: He considers this an essential item, allowing him to heal during the fight. He has a spare he offered to Elan.
- Ring of True Seeing: A birthday present from his late wife Penelope, it allows him to see through illusions and see invisible creatures.
- Extra Strength Keoghtum Ointment: He keeps this AD&D 1st edition item for situations when healing is needed and a cleric is not around.
- Tarquin also possesses a helmet and a mask with the word "Nope" on it.
- Tarquin's Pteranadon carries an emergency pouch, which containes a jar of Keoghtum ointment, a whip, and other unknown objects. He notes to pack a spare axe next time. The whip was last in the possession of Vaarsuvius, who took it during combat.
- Tarquin and the scenes in which he appears has several references to Star Wars. They bear several similarities to Darth Vader and well-known scenes involving him.
- He is an evil masked warlord in service of an Empire.
- Before revealing his identity to his son, Elan, he easily outmaneuvers him in battle.
- He is the father of twins separated at infancy.
- The exact line he uses, "Elan — I am your father", is a reference to the line used by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back: "No. I am your father", commonly misquoted as "Luke—I am your father".
- He employs bounty hunters to his service.
- He works with a pale robed figure (Malack) who manipulates government from all sides (Like Palpatine)
- When he carries out revenge against Gannji, he uses the line, "Pray I don't alter it any further," another of Darth Vader's lines.
- He also threatens to chop Elan's hand, just like Darth Vader did to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. 
Other references include:
- Gannji makes a "thermal detonator" threat against him.
- "Tarkin" is the Name of the Grand Moff in the fourth Episode (A New Hope) of Star Wars; the one who was in charge of the Battle station "Death Star". However, this is refuted by the author himself who stated that Tarquin is named after the last king of Rome, Tarquinius "The Proud" who was overthrown by Lucius Junius Brutus, founding the Republic.
- ↑ Comic 758, "Spins of the Father"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Comic #50, "The Semi-Secret Origin of Elan & Nale"
- ↑ Comic #816, "General Knowledge"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Comic #725, "The Significantly-More-Secret Origin of Tarquin and Nale"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Comic #700, "They Would Likely Both Disagree with That Sentiment"
- ↑ Comic #758, "Spins of the Father"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Comic #735, "Of Clerks and Clerics"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Comic #727, "And It Will Never Work Again"
- ↑ Comic #843, "Lack of Foresight"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Comic #722, "Block and Tackle"
- ↑ Comic #934, "All Hands on Deck"
|Tarquin • Malack • Miron Shewdanker • Laurin Shattersmith • Jacinda • Vector Legion Fighter|
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