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Tao Qian
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XII~XIV portrait
Character Information
Force(s): Han
Tao Qian's Forces
Weapon Type: Sword (5~6)
Throwing knives (7~8)
Unit Type: Strategist (5)
Ruler (6)
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 5
Historical Information
Real name:
Táo Qiān
Chinese name:
陶謙 - 陶谦
Style name:
Chinese name:

Tao Qian (onyomi: Tō Ken) is the Governor of Xu Province who was attacked by Cao Cao's forces after one of his officers murdered Cao Cao's father. Along with Taishi Ci, Liu Bei was sent by his lord Gongsun Zan to aid Tao Qian, and successfully held off the attack. Tao Qian fell ill soon afterwards and entrusted his holdings to a reluctant Liu Bei. His two sons are Tao Shang and Tao Ying.

Role in Games[]

Dynasty Warriors[]

Tao Qian appears in Dynasty Warriors 5 as a sub-officer of He Jin during the Yellow Turban Rebellion when playing on the Yellow Turban Forces side.

In Dynasty Warriors 6, Tao Qian only participates in Lu Bu's version of the battle of Hu Lao Gate, where he is among the many officers who are slain by Lu Bu.

Dynasty Warriors 7 has Tao Qian appear as the commander of the allied forces in the battle of Xu Province. With the help of Liu Bei, he manages to drive out Cao Cao's forces in Shu's story. In Wei's story, Cao Cao decides to attack Tao Qian as a precaution. Despite the interference of Liu Bei and Lu Bu, Cao Cao's forces eventually manage to take down the castle and defeat Tao Qian.

Tao Qian resumes his role from the previous installment in Dynasty Warriors 8. This time, however, the reason for Cao Cao's attack on Xu Province is Tao Qian's murder of Cao Cao's father Cao Song. After Cao Cao's men overcome the dragon boulder traps and the ambush in the forest, Liu Bei's reinforcements arrive. Tao Qian sets fire to the castle and begins his escape. The player has the option to give chase and defeat Tao Qian before he reaches the escape point, although he has to be very fast to do so. If the player succeeds, Tao Qian is killed and the battle of Puyang is unlocked.

In the Empires games, Tao Qian often appears as the ruler of Xiapi in the early scenarios. In the fifth title, playing as Liu Bei in the Dong Zhuo scenario may trigger an event in which Tao Qian hands Xiapi over to Liu Bei.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

Tao Qian is an average officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. His battle skills are fairly low, while having above average intelligence and politics. His charisma stat is usually his best stat in any game that has it.

Serving He Jin in the Yellow Turban rebellion scenario, he usually governs the cities of Xu Province in the subsequent scenarios, although sometimes the province is split between him and Liu Bei. The Power-Up Kit expansion of the eleventh installment adds an event in which Tao Qian hands Xu Province over to Liu Bei before dying. Liu Bei will take control of any of Tao Qian's cities as well as his officers.

Voice Actors[]

  • Patrick Seitz - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (English-uncredited)
  • Etsuko Kozakura - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)


  • "Lord Liu Bei, I do not have much longer to live. I entrust you with my land and all of its possessions."
"Lord Tao Qian... I am unworthy of your regard. Still, if you insist... then I shall carry out your wishes to the best of my ability."
~~Tao Qian and Liu Bei; Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires

Historical Information[]

Originally from the Danyang region, Tao Qian came into the services of the Han Dynasty and suppressed various uprisings in their name. He also helped stem the chaos caused by the Yellow Turban Rebellion during his time as governor of Xu Province. Tao Qian then participated in a campaign to subdue a different rebellion at Liang Province, but he did not get along well with his commander Zhang Wen, a sentiment also shared by both Dong Zhuo and Sun Jian.

Though Tao Qian was content with governing his territory as well as the recently gained Yang Province, he was attacked by Cao Cao's army in 193 for personal reasons. Because Cao Cao's father Cao Song had been killed by Tao Qian's officer Zhang Kai out of greed, the ambitious warlord retaliated by invading Xu Province and decimating the people living there. At the time, Tao Qian's principal allies were Yuan Shu and Gongsun Zan, who were in opposition to the alliance of (then friends) Yuan Shao and Cao Cao.

Liu Bei came to Tao Qian's aid while serving alongside Tian Kai, who had been appointed the Inspector of Qing province by Gongsun Zan. Tao Qian recognized Liu Bei's talent and managed to recruit him to his service by providing him with several thousand troops. Liu Bei's effective defense of Xu Province against the stronger Cao army, coupled with his political skills allowed him to win the support of the local elite, including the Mi and Chen clans.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms[]

In the novel, Liu Bei is repeatedly asked by Tao Qian to assume control over Xu province by Tao Qian, and finally relents while Tao Qian is on his deathbed. This is the version of events that is most commonly portrayed in media depictions.



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