Tarkus (or Bitcoin Barry) is the manliest motherfucker in the entire Blood Ravens Space Marine chapter. He has been a steadfast warrior whose capacity for kicking ass is only matched by the power of his heart. According to canon, he's been with the chapter since the Kronus campaign, as one of the nameless honor guard sergeants. Noted for being the single most sympathetic character in all of Dawn of War II, as well as being one of the most beloved by /tg/ due to the sheer ass-kickery he provides, Tarkus is one of not only the most useful characters to join your squad in the game, but also one of the most versatile. Whereas that angry motherfucker Avitus is dour and angry, and Cyrus tends to be dark and brooding, Tarkus is the old veteran - the one that has seen it all, endured the crucible of war, and emerged with his humanity tempered, rather than weakened. In a universe filled with grimdark, Tarkus is the exception to the rule, pushing forward with concern for his fellow marines and leaving the universe that much brighter with each bolter shell he fires.
It's fucking inspiring.
To add the badassness, his name is possibly based on 20 MINUTE LONG EPIC SONG PLAYED BY THE BIGGEST KEYBOARDIST EVER. No relation (or similarly, possibly named after the ELP song) to Tarkus from Dark Souls or Tarkus from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
Tarkus himself is a Tactical Marine Sergeant in the Blood Ravens 4th Company. He has over 200 years of experience under his belt, and is an expert tactician as well as a rock-solid second-in-command, who serves the Dawn of War II Space Marine Commander as an advisor and confidant. Amongst his fellow marines, Tarkus is renowned for his confidence and tough-as-adamantine resolve. Tarkus' prominent scars and tendency to be hard on himself stem from a personal tragedy: Tarkus was once convinced by an Eldar Ranger to lead his squad straight into an ambush. The Ranger had approached him under the guise of a truce and had proposed they temporarily work together against their common enemy, the Orks. Suffice to say, in the proud tradition of the Eldar possessing the most hubristic fucks in the galaxy, the Eldar betrayed the Marines the second the opportunity arose, and Tarkus' squad was cut down piecemeal - Tarkus was the sole survivor of the ambush, and has yet to forgive himself for this. Tarkus harbors a serious grudge against not only the Ranger (who escaped the battle), but against Eldar in general as a result, and his vendetta against them has not faded over the years.
Tarkus' first canon appearance was in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, where he supposedly was one of the available Sergeants under the command of Captain Davian Thule. He and his squad were commended for their efforts during the assault on the Necron Stronghold on Kronus, where Tarkus' squad held off wave after wave of Necron forces as Captain Davian Thule planted a Plasma Bomb so as to end the Necron threat to Kronus entirely; as a desperate act, Tarkus brought a Destroyer down by shoving a frag grenade into its neck joints, earning yet more scars and the Crux Terminatus. Predictably, he lost his arm, but it was replaced with a cybernetic limb à la Luke Skywalker.
Tarkus' native world is Calderis, which is one of a handful of recruitment worlds for the Blood Ravens.
Dawn of War
In-game in Dawn of War II, Tarkus is by the side of your character, the Blood Ravens Force Commander, right from the start of the game. His ranged orientation and focus on cover-camping is a stark contrast to your melee-based I-don't-give-a-fuck-about-cover style of leadership. All the other squads who join you consider him the best of you, which he is, so if he's the traitor in Chaos Rising they are all shocked and appalled - even Avitus is stunned. Other than that, he finally gets the chance to put his Terminator honours to good use during the penultimate Eldar mission when he recovers a set from amongst stolen relics of the chapter.
If he becomes the traitor, it's because he wants to save the chapter using the raw power of Chaos against itself. Yes, you read that correctly. As he's just a regular grunt marine, said raw power comes in the form of a Warp-tainted bolter which is implied to have him under its thrall, given that he talks to/about it as if it were alive. In a neat example of story and gameplay integration, you can find the actual bolter over the course of a game and true to the lore it's a bit of a beast. Before the fight, Tarkus uses it to casually obliterate a Black Legion Dreadnought in under a second then blows away all of the Chaos Marines backing him before charging you and quoting the Codex all the while.
Out of all the betrayals, Tarkus' stands out from the others as he doesn't act all that much differently than normal or blame the conflict on the Blood Ravens when compared with Avitus and Cyrus' anger, Thaddeus and Martellus' fanaticism and Jonah's possession. He never says anything actively threatening to the squads and even gives advice like he's still fighting with you, something that really pisses off Avitus and Cyrus. For Tarkus, he believes he is still fighting with his squad- he believes everything he does to be for the greater good (and not the Blue Man Group variety of greater good) of the chapter. Perhaps most baffling and infuriating to his squadmates, he wanted to use it for their sake in particular; a fact that Cyrus finds so disquieting that his cool demeanor breaks. Tarkus sought to use the power of Chaos against itself, not unlike many a radical inquisitor, but such a gambit is a dangerous one, even for such inquisitors. Likely succumbing to the daemon within the bolter, as he lays dying he mourns "We could have done so much, you and I. Why are you abandoning me? Why?!" and while Jonah believes he said this to the daemon (which is plausible), it is just as possible that he genuinely meant this for his comrades - once friends, now his vanquishers. Whether or not Tarkus was misguided or possessed, no one speculated - but it can be said that without a doubt that while he gave everything to those he had believed in, in the end they would not believe in him.
Tarkus' corruption can also be a sign that the player is a Radical Inquisitor himself, as it usually requires repeatedly deploying Tarkus using the Blighted Bolter and other corrupted wargear. Furthermore, all the other squadmates drop a pure item upon their post-betrayal deaths, such as a purity seal warning against trusting daemons like Thaddeus did, or Jonah Orion's deathmask that has become a protective relic. Tarkus, however, drops the very same bolter that corrupted him, possibly inviting the player to give it to someone else...
In-game, Tarkus is probably the most versatile squad member you can field. His Tactical Advance reduces incoming ranged damage and negates suppression with only a minor drop in movement speed in exchange, and may be upgraded to reduce melee damage and/or make him undying while it lasts. Sure, he'll lose HP, but it will never fall beyond 1 (don't retreat though - Tactical Advance will cease to function and Tarkus is likely to be knocked out). Watch as he stands in the middle of an orbital bombardment without so much as a scratch. This ability also completely overshadows the iron halo, since it drains energy over time, not when damage is taken. This lets Tarkus laugh off mostly everything for extended periods of time on the order of five minutes, rendering him a persistent thorn in the enemy's side. Tactical advance can also be upgraded to increase Tarkus's damage or share its bonuses to the rest of your squads.
Since he's hardy as all fuck, Tarkus works perfectly with short-ranged weapons like flamers, meltaguns, and plasma guns, and with the Sternguard upgrade he gains access to improved bolter ammo that make bolters (and storm bolters) useful against just about everything - Kraken rounds boost their range, Dragonfire rounds create AoE explosions that ignore cover, and Vengeance rounds allow them to do bonus damage against vehicles and buildings. It's relatively easy to have him wade into hordes of enemies to kill linchpin opponents like Tyranid Warriors and Nobz, or tie up ranged squads in close combat. His other skills combo perfectly with his durability, letting him draw ALL THE FIRE while the rest of your force gets into position. Tarkus is also a master of grenade warfare, able to throw unlimited grenades, and eventually, throw bunches of grenades.
One more thing of note is that his squad has more
meatshields unnamed marines battle brothas, coming in at three over everyone else's two. These can be upgraded to chapter veterans, giving you two extra cheap plasma guns on the field, and the upgrade falls on the road to the super-tactical-advance, meaning it's a no-brainer to get it.
On top of being versatile with all ranged weapons, he also makes for a surprisingly potent melee tank. The extra marine gives him more melee damage than Thaddeus, as well as being a far more durable unit. While ranged veterans give free plasma guns, melee veterans get a tank-busting power fist and a heavy infantry killing power axe along with two plasma pistols (note Tarkus himself can't take one for some dumb reason). This pairs extremely well with his taunt ability, allowing him to kite swarms of melee enemies into grenade range. His final upgrade in the Strength discipline gives him access to power swords, but not axes or fists, letting him kinda do Thaddeus's job better than him while remaining invulnerable.
He doesn't have the strongest guns, or the most effective explosives, or the best melee, but his Marines are the most vital part of your team. He will not die, he will mark artillery, and he will buff your entire team to unstoppable levels. Simply put, Sergeant Tarkus is the best Blood Raven in Dawn of War II, bar none. Yes, that includes Davian Cool and Gabriel Angelos.
Leading him down the path of Corruption poses an interesting and extremely useful path of ability expansion that makes Tarkus even more powerful. His global ability, Shield of Hate, reflects all damage done to its target back at the enemy; Aura of Rage forces all enemies to attack each other in a blind rage; Unholy Zeal makes Tarkus temporarily invulnerable and makes attacks that should damage him heal him instead; his final Corruption ability, Mark of Nurgle, essentially makes Tarkus into a Plague Marine 2.0, provided he is able to fuck any of those 1 on 1 - he not only gains immunity to suppression, he replaces his now redundant Tactical Advance with Aura of Decay, in which he heals himself while damaging enemies for the negligible cost of a movement speed penalty. As if all this wasn't enough, he gains access to exceptionally powerful corrupting wargear (a bolter and a suit of power armour) that only he can wield, which grows more powerful every time you donate it to the Librarium. The Blighted Bolter and the Blighted Power Armour, as they are called, boost Tarkus' ranged and melee firepower while granting up to +3 to all combat disciplines and incredible protection vs. everything. You may feel bad corrupting such a noblebright and manly marine, but the payoff should alleviate any concerns you feel. That said, keeping him pure lets him deal bonus damage to all daemons, which does include Ulkair.
In Retribution, he somehow manages to become even cheesier (read: Awesome) as he gains the ability to use any weapon that isn't a shotgun, sniper rifle, or 2-handed melee weapon, make himself invincible whenever he uses any of his abilities, and gains a jump pack too, essentially making him a cross between a Sternguard Veteran, a Vanguard Veteran, and a Devastator Marine. Give him the Shadowscale armor wargear that renders him permanently invisible and chapter rites accessory, and a plasma cannon, plus the final offense ability to call in air-strikes, then watch him demolish everything in his path with impunity.
Ever wanted to include this cheesy badass into your army? Then take him as an upgrade for your Tactical/Sternguard (or Vanguard/Devastator)/Terminator Sergeant.
- Infantry (Character)
- 1 Unique
- Holy Bolter of The Ancient: Can be swapped for Purgation of the Anathema for 15 pts, Blazing Light of Truth or Xavier's Torch for 20 pts. He may exchange either of them for the Vigilance of the Neophyte for free or the Blade of Typhon for 25 pts, and Unflagging Resolve for free or The Voice of Reason for 20 pts. If Tarkus chooses to take the Honor of the Blood Ravens, then he automatically swaps any weapons he has for the Sanction of Terra and Bane of The Fallen, which can be replaced for 30 pts for the Fate of Traitors. Ancient Tarkus may replace these weapons further with Thule's Companion (see Codex Davian Thule) for free, Titan Smasher for 15 pts, Necron Bane for 20 pts, and Light of Calderis for 25 pts if he doesn't choose Honour of the Blood Ravens.
- Power Armour: Can be swapped for Armor of Calderis for 10 pts or Honor of the Blood Ravens for 20 pts. If he chooses the latter, then Tarkus must be part of a Terminator Squad.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Blind Grenades: See Defensive Grenades.
- Personal Standard: Counts as Company Standard. See Codex: Space Marines. May be replaced with a Jump Pack (Ancient Tarkus Only).
- And They Shall Know No Fear
- Chapter Tactics (Blood Ravens): As per the rules for all Chapters who do not know their primogenitor Chapter, the Blood Ravens do not have a unique Chapter Tactic. Instead, the player can elect to use any existing Chapter Tactics from Codex: Space Marines and any Forge World supplements.
- Feel No Pain (Armor of Calderis Only)
- Preferred Enemy (Chaos) (Honor of the Blood Ravens Only)
- Zealot (Honor of the Blood Ravens Only)
- Relentless/Slow and Purposeful (Unflagging Resolve Only)
- Eternal Warrior
- Hatred (Eldar (that includes Craftworld Eldar, Dark Eldar, Harlequins, Innari, etc))
- Special Issue Ammunition (Holy Bolter of The Ancient, Unflagging Resolve, Thule's Companion and Bane of The Fallen Only): See Codex: Space Marines under Sternguard Veterans. Replace the Rapid Fire rules of the ammunitions with those of the bolter weapons (in case of Bane of The Fallen and Thule's Companion, subtract 1 from the AP and add 1 (2 in case of Thule's Companion) to S to the ammunitions profiles).
- Master Crafted Grenades: All grenades that Tarkus uses count as having the Master Crafted USR.
- Tactical Advance: Once per battle, for the duration of one turn, declare that Tarkus and his squad will initiate Tactical Advance. For the duration of Tactical Advance, Tarkus and his squad are under the effects of the Slow and Purposeful USR, but also gain a +1 to WS, BS, A, I, and a +1 to Armour and Inv Save rolls.
|Holy Bolter of The Ancient||28||5||5||Rapid Fire, Master Crafted, Precision Shots|
- Holy Bolter of The Ancient: The Holy Bolter of the Ancient is a Boltgun belonging to the Blood Ravens Chapter. A revered relic of the Ultramarines Chapter, this bolter accompanied dozens of Space Marines during Crusades of Absolution. Few can recall the weapons' complete history, but legends speak that Marneus Calgar himself carried it during his centuries as a tactical marine.
|Purgation of the Anathema||Template||5||4||Assault 2, Detonate|
- Purgation of the Anathema: "For the enemies of Man are hateful to His sight, and He shall Smite them in holy flame." Used in the purgation of the Black Abbeys of Morgana, this artificer flamer emerged from the campaign with holy zeal resonating in its very fabric. So searing is its flame that unholy targets are said to detonate in holy blooms of fire.
- Detonate: When a enemy model is slain by this weapon, put a blast marker over the slain model. All enemy models inside the blast marker are hit by a single S5 AP4 hit, yet still can use armour saves.
|Blazing Light of Truth||24||7||2||Rapid Fire, Gets Hot!, Master Crafted, Folly of Conviction|
- Blazing Light of Truth: "In the moment of his death, let the Heretic see the folly of his cause." This artificer plasma gun bears the sigils of Inquisitor Kuzminski. Like that fearsome figure, the weapon has been known to compel enemies to suddenly disavow their heresies - and promptly jump into the path of their erstwhile allies' attacks.
- Folly of Conviction: Enemies hit by this weapon suddenly fall into a berserker state and attack each other for one turn. When rolling To Hit in either melee or shooting, any unmodified rolls of a 1 are not discarded if missed. Instead, they automatically hit a friendly model locked in the squad that is attacking Tarkus. The enemy must randomly determine (for each roll of a 1) which model in the squad is hit.
|Unflagging Resolve||12||4||5||Pistol, Rending|
- Unflagging Resolve: When the generators powering Angel Gate were disabled, Commissar Tharp rallied the Guardsmen of the 85th Vendoland in a vain attempt to stave off the Tyranid swarm. Even when the endless broods of Hormagaunts buried him in their mass, the report of his bolt pistol could still be heard. The Unflagging resolve grants the whole squad that is led by Tarkus the Relentless USR. If any model in the squad has a weapon with the Heavy trait, then the whole squad gains the Slow and Purposeful USR.
|The Voice of Reason||12||7||2||Pistol, Gets Hot!, Concussive, Strikedown|
- The Voice of Reason: "So the enemy refuses to acknowledge their defeat? They shall listen to reason." Brother-Captain Klint of the Imperial Fists. The Voice of Reason is a Plasma Pistol.
- Thule's Companion: See [Davian Thule]. Only applicable when Captain Davian Thule is not armed with Thule's Companion or when he's taken in his Venerable Dreadnought incarnation.
|Titan Smasher (Frag)||54||5||6||Heavy 1, Master Crafted, Blast|
|Titan Smasher (Krak)||54||9||3||Heavy 1, Master Crafted|
|Titan Smasher (Flakk)||54||8||4||Heavy 1, Master Crafted, Skyfire|
|Titan Smasher Missile||54||8||1||Heavy 1, Master Crafted, Armourbane, One Use Only|
- Titan Smasher: Techmarines of the Red Wolves have preserved this weapon for millennia, although it looks quite unremarkable. Time and again, the Titan Smasher has found weak points in great war machines, heavy tanks, armored daemons, and terrifying siege engines. The Titan Smasher is a Missile Launcher.
|Necron Bane||72||9||2||Heavy 1, Master Crafted, Lance, Armourbane, Protocol Scrambler|
- Necron Bane: In the blackness of a massive subterranean cavern, Brother Fortune steadied this mighty lascannon and unleashed its great power on scores of awakening Necron Destroyers. Their ancient armor melted and fused together like so much plasteel slag. Fortune bore this weapon into battle on countless worlds, devoting his long life to restraining the Necron menace. Tarkus gains Preferred Enemy (Necrons) when equipped with this weapon.
- Protocol Scrambler: Necrons slain by Necron Bane and who rolled Reanimation Protocols must re-roll successful Reanimation Protocols with a -1 penalty. Additionally, any Necron vehicle with the Living Metal SR must re-roll any successful IWND rolls.
|Light of Calderis||72||8||2||Heavy 2, Large Blast, Gets Hot!|
- Light of Calderis: With each volley, an expanse of the Claderis desert turned to glass and a mob of greenskins scavengers fell apart like boiled meat. When the Blood Ravens first set foot on Calderis, it was infested with Orks. When they left, the native human tribes were free from the Ork menace and in awe of their armored saviors from the stars. The Light of Calderis is a Plasma Cannon.
|Bane of The Fallen||24||5||3||Assault 3, Master Crafted|
- Bane of The Fallen: "No unholy deed shall go unpunished. No blasphemy shall go unavenged." The Grey Knights made common cause with the Blood Ravens during part of the Dark Crusade on Kronus. Though the daemon hunters would depart as mysteriously as they arrived, they left this holy weapon to their former allies. Bane of The Fallen is a Storm Bolter.
|Fate of Traitors||Template||6||4||Assault 2, Torrent|
- Fate of Traitors: Veteran Damonis of the Blood Ravens First Company wielded this heavy flamer during the Kronus Crusade. He used it without hesitation on the turncoat Guardsmen of Victory Bay and the Chaos Heretics of the Deimos Peninsula.
|Vigilance of the Neophyte||-||User||4||Melee, Shred, Sunder Armor|
- Vigilance of the Neophyte: Freshly graduated from the Scout company, the young Blood Raven Rennatus came to a terrible discovery: his superior Sergeant Holdon had fallen to the whispers of Chaos. Rennatus used this very chainsword to put an end to his brother's heresy.
- Sunder Armor: Enemies hit by this weapon on a 6 have their Sv increased by one up to a maximum of 6. Does not affect Invulnerable Saves.
|Blade of Typhon||-||+1||3||Melee, Tyranid Bane|
- Blade of Typhon: Sergeant Byronis used this venerated power sword during the climactic battle with the Tyranids on Typhon Primaris. He thought the blade lost when the talons of a Ravener severed his arm and sent the blade tumbling into a deep chasm. Byronis continued the battle regardless, making use of his bolt pistol.
- Tyranid Bane: Tarkus re-rolls all failed To Hit and To Wound rolls against Tyranids. Additionally, Tarkus gains the Fleshbane USR on both his shooting and close combat attacks.
|Sanction of Terra||-||2x||2||Melee, Master-Crafted, Armourbane, Unwieldy, Specialist Weapon|
- Sanction of Terra: "Let your hand be that of the Emperor, and deliver swift sanction to His enemies!" - From the Sermons of St. Munsell. The Sanction of Terra is a Terminator Chainfist.
- Armor of Calderis: The Blood Raven Tomas held the desert gate of Argus during the Greenskin invasion of his native Calderis, allowing Davian Thule to organize a counter attack. Tomas fell to the Tyranids later in the Crusade, but his recovered armor is relic of the chapter, a tribute to the harsh warriors recruited from Calderis. The Armor of Calderis is a Artificer Armour that grants the Feel No Pain USR and a 6+ Inv Save against ranged weapons.
- Honor of the Blood Ravens: Cleansed of the taint of its use by traitors, this legendary armor is returned to the chapter's faithful at last. The armor itself seems to pulse with zeal, seeking to atone for the sins committed within it. The Honor of the Blood Ravens is a Terminator Armor that grants the Zealot USR and Preferred Enemy (Chaos) to the whole squad that Tarkus leads.
Who gives a Damn about "canon"? He's awesome, no two ways about it. And, thankfully, nothing has happened to him like, say, being equipped with a multi-laser bionic arm by C.S. Gotohell.
- Chris Roberson's novelization of Dawn of War II states his homeworld as Erinia, rather than Calderis, and notes that it was OMM-NOMMED by the 'Nids. The canonosity of the book is debatable, however. Especially since the book notes him sacrificing himself to kill a Tyranid Norn Queen one-on-one, whereas he shows up alive and well in Chaos Rising...