Characters / Jade Empire

The character sheet for Jade Empire.

Beware of spoilers!
    open/close all folders 

Playable Characters

    The Spirit Monk 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_player_character.jpg

The Player Character. Master Li's favorite pupil. Shortly after learning that s/he is the last Spirit Monk, his/her hometown of Two Rivers is destroyed and Master Li is captured. This prompts him/her to go on a journey to find Master Li and learn what his/her destiny is.

There's less Character Customization available for player characters than is usual in BioWare games — instead of using a character creator to modify appearance and change starting stats, players select one out of six or seven (depending on edition) pre-designed characters. The characters start with different fighting styles, but can learn others in the course of gameplay. They have names attached to them (specifically: Furious Ming, Lu the Prodigy, Radiant Jen Zi, Scholar Ling, Tiger Shen, Wu the Lotus Blossom, and Monk Zeng), although players can change these if they like.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The "Closed Fist" path.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Loudly announces every style they bring into combat.
  • Came Back Strong: In Chapter 6, you return to life after Master Li kills you. You don't need the amulet to channel gems anymore, you are capable of doing new and potent things with your Spirit Monk powers, you finally know who the true enemy is and all the ghosts and demons you fought in the meantime made for wonderful training. Plus, you've had time to correct the flaw in your style that Master Li used to kill you the first go 'round.
  • The Chosen One: Double Subverted. There's nothing particularly special about you Spirit Monk wise, you're just a kid who was born a few days before shit went down. However with Sun Li's training and your status as the last of your kind you're the only person in a position to end the problem of the walking dead.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: How you start.
  • Cool Big Sis: How Dawn Star sees you if you're female.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In true bioware tradition, almost every dialogue has a potential snarky response.
  • Doomed Hometown: Twice, losing Dirge (born) and Two Rivers (raised).
  • Extremity Extremist/Kick Chick: One of the starting styles is the heavily-kick based Legendary Strike.
  • A God Am I: In the Closed Fist ending after absorbing the power of the Water Dragon.
  • Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Under Master Li's guidance.
  • Last of His Kind: The only surviving Spirit Monk.
  • Martial Pacifist: The "Open Palm" path.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All three female player models have an aspect of fanservice:
  • Morality Pet: Unless the full Sagacious Zu subplot is complete, and she learns her father's true identity, Dawn Star is this even to a Closed Fist character.
  • The Paralyzer: Through use of Support Styles, which inflict a variety of status effects.
  • Panty Shot: Doing a forward roll as Radiant Jen Zi or Wu the Lotus Blossom gives you a quick flash of her panties.
  • Player Character: You only control other characters under very specific circumstances.
  • The Social Darwinist: The "Closed Fist" path.
  • Unwitting Pawn: "He trained you to fight a tyrant, but with a flaw. He wanted you to be vulnerable in your moment of triumph".
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: One of the more powerful abilities you can pick up, verging on a Game Breaker with the Jade Golem transformation.

    Dawn Star 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_dawn_star.jpg
Voiced by: Kim Mai Guest

The Spirit Monk's childhood friend. She has the ability to sense spirits that cannot be seen by anyone else. This has led to her being scorned by most of the townsfolk of Two Rivers. She was named after a bright fire that was seen when she was born. This fire was the burning of the Temple of Dirge. She is Master Li's daughter, although neither of them are aware of this. A potential love interest for a male Spirit Monk.

  • Action Girl: According to Master Li, her skills complement those of the player character.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Shunned by many of the villagers who are wary of her ability to communicate with the dead. You can help her to deal with this in two ways: if you're Open Palm, you can persuade her that her powers are a gift and not a curse, and she's not to blame for the others picking on her. Doing this will clear up her emotional issues since she'll start defining herself by the good she does rather than the ignorant opinions of other people. If you're Closed Fist, you can persuade her that the others will stop picking on her if she starts acting powerful and strong, like they're all beneath her and she should take what she wants. Doing this will give her a huge confidence boost but she'll also start approving of villainous behavior.
  • Awful Truth: Finding out that Master Li is her father has a large impact on all of her endings, and not necessarily in a good way. Notably, if the player takes over the Empire and she doesn't know, she becomes a moderating influence on them, helping to make the nation a strong, prosperous place that sees to the people's needs, if not their wants. Finding out turns her into a cold, cruel tyrant.
  • Betty and Veronica: Dawn Star as the Betty and Silk Fox as the Veronica.
  • Bi the Way: Although she can only be romanced by a male Spirit Monk, if the player attempts to date both she and Silk Fox at the same time, they will apparently begin a lesbian relationship during the timeskip, to the point that not trying to date both of them will end the romance with both.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Whether she's victorious or unlucky depends on the player.
  • The Empath: She is sensitive to the spiritual world. This sometimes causes problems in places like, for example, Tien's Landing, which is filled with the spirits of all the people who were killed in the flooding.
  • Face–Heel Turn: If you romance Dawn Star after having persuaded her to follow the Way of the Closed Fist, she'll back you up when you do morally questionable things like bind Death's Hand or take the Water Dragon's power for yourself.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Spends much of the game arguing with Silk Fox, but they come to respect each other after fighting together at the bridge of Dirge.
  • The Heart: Even if she undergoes Character Development into a Closed Fist character, she remains largely compassionate and caring. Finding out Master Li's true identity, however, is quite a blow to her.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: She uses a militia blade called Gujin's Favor. If you control her in Dirge, she has a chance to gain a stronger sword called Thorn and Shining Carp.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With the female Spirit Monk. The two of you are very close and she loves you like a sister.
  • Kissing Cousins: With Silk Fox, her father's brother's daughter, in the three-way romance path, although it is unwitting on both parties' ends at the time.
  • Leitmotif: Named after her.
  • Like Brother and Sister: If you're playing a male Spirit Monk and you don't romance Dawn Star (either because you're romancing Silk Fox or Sky or have chosen to forgo romance entirely), you and Dawn Star have this kind of close relationship.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Subverted when Master Li doesn't believe her and tells her that he wouldn't care if he did.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name is a reference to the fires of Dirge burning, which, from the place of her birth, gave the appearance of a sunrise.
  • She's Got Legs: If you have her with you when you recruit the Black Whirlwind, he jokes that she could distract their enemies by flashing her legs.
  • Unhappy Medium: Her sensitivity to the supernatural realm caused her to be ostrazicized and causes her some pain. The Spirit Monk can encourage her to make peace with her power.
  • You're Not My Father: She has a chance to tell this to Master Li during the final confrontation in two ways (depending on whatever she remains an Open Palm or has been turned into a Closed Fist character).
    (Open Palm version) "I'm not sure what I expected my father to be, but I remember a time when I hoped he was someone like you. Not any more."
    (Closed Fist version) "I always thought I had been abandoned. It was not until just now that I knew for certain. If I am dead to you, then you are dead to me."

    Sagacious Zu 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_zu.jpg

An old man who the Spirit Monk meets in the swamp outside of Two Rivers. After Two Rivers is destroyed, he admits to being a former Lotus Assassin and agrees to accompany the party for his own reasons. When the party's attempt to infiltrate the Lotus Assassin Fortress fails, he sacrifices himself to kill Death's Hand. He left the Lotus Assassins when he was ordered to kill Master Li's family: he killed Li's wife but spared his newborn daughter, Dawn Star.

  • Bald of Awesome: He does have a little hair in a tonsure, but it's mostly shaved.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His sense of humor is extremely biting and sarcastic.
  • Defector from Decadence: He once believed in the ideal of being an assassin for the greater good, but was able to understand how far his order was falling when he was ordered to kill Master Li's infant daughter.
  • Enemy Mine: In the Closed Fist ending, he still pulls his Not Too Dead to Save the Day ploy to save you. He knows that you may become a tyrant after you kill Sun Li, but Sun Li is a tyrant, and killing him has a chance of making things better.
  • Fake Defector: Leaves your party to go to the Lotus Assassin fortress, but helps you while there.
  • Famous Last Words: "I wasn't looking for victory. Just a few seconds."
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: A weird mixture of the two, but he IS covered in them, head to toe.
  • Heel Realization: As a Lotus assassin, he honestly thought he was doing necessarily evil acts to keep the empire in order until the above incident.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He gives you enough time to escape Death's Hand by tricking Death's Hand into destroying the pillars holding the ceiling up, but Sagacious Zu is killed in the process.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Even knowing that the Lotus Assassins are evil, he often finds himself defending the Emperor and denying that he could know about the Assassins' wrongdoing
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: During the final battle, his spirit shows up and frees you from Li's mind trap. Justified by the cycle of souls being blocked, preventing all spirits from moving on until the Water Dragon's power is released.
  • Pragmatic Hero: He's not above killing enemy minions who have surrendered. As a whole, he represents the Closed Fist in its more philosophical, less-evil forms.
    "Sagacious Zu is an honorable man. Not a good man, perhaps, but an honorable one."
  • Red Right Hand: His hands are visibly discolored with black ink, marking him as a former Lotus Assassin. Since he was part of the order before they became corrupt it may be dyed with dye, not blood as with more recent members.
  • Retired Monster: Apart from the killing of Li's family, he has no remorse about what he did
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He hides it under a cynical and unpleasant attitude, but he's had years and years to reflect on the thing's he's done, and they haven't always been kind.
  • Simple Staff: His weapon of choice.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Frequently in the Lotus Assassin Fortress.
  • Wham Line: After mentioning the Lotus Assassins with accuracy, he says "I... I was one."
  • Zen Survivor: Despite his brutal worldview and private remorse, he has still attained a kind of enlightened non-attachment. His spirit even remains whole and sane after his death to assist you in the final battle.

    Silk Fox 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_silk_fox.jpg
Voiced by: Masasa Moyo

A ninja-like figure who attacks the party after their flier crashes, believing them responsible for the destruction of Two Rivers. She is secretly Princess Sun Lian the Heavenly Lily, the heir to the Empire. She joins the party to prove that her father is being manipulated by Death's Hand. A potential love interest for a Spirit Monk of either gender.

  • Action Girl: She exhibits cool moves when the animation is less rigid.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Silk Fox's princess outfit.
  • Betty and Veronica: Silk Fox as the Veronica and Dawn Star as the Betty.
  • Bi the Way: She can be romanced by either a male or a female Spirit Monk, and, if the player attempts to date both she and Dawn Star at the same time, they will apparently begin a lesbian relationship during the timeskip, to the point that not trying to date both of them will end the romance with both.
  • Broken Pedestal: Let's just say her father is NOT being manipulated by Death's Hand (indeed, it is the exact inverse) and she is not happy to find that out. She wonders if the revelation that Li was the mastermind absolves him, but realizes that it does not.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Kang when he's being disrespectful to her.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Borderline case, in-game.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Spends much of the game arguing with Dawn Star, but they come to respect each other after fighting together at the bridge of Dirge.
  • Gay Option: For lesbian characters.
  • Happily Married: In her epilogue if romanced by male character.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: She uses a long sword called Captain's Blade. If you take control of her in Dirge, she has a chance to gain a stronger sword called Blade of the Broken Bough.
  • It Was a Gift: As the Princess, has an attendant give you a gem at the start of Act III.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Typically snipes at the other party members, especially Dawn Star, but cares strongly about doing the right thing. Her "journal entry" during the segment of the game the player can play as her actually has her making a few backhanded compliments towards Dawn Star.
  • Kissing Cousins: With Dawn Star, her father's brother's daughter, in the three-way romance path, although it is unwitting on both parties' ends at the time.
  • McNinja: An unusual non-white example. Silk Fox's character design is heavily based on the ninja stereotype of an agile stealthy assassin in a black suit and mask, but that stereotype is Japanese rather than Chinese.
  • Rebellious Princess: Double subverted. Her activities, while unorthodox, are all undertaken as part of what she sees as her princessly duty to the Empire. Unfortunately for her, circumstances eventually demand that she rebel for real.
    • Also, there's an example in her ending that can either be playing this trope straight or subverting this trope. If you follow the Way of the Open Palm and persuade Silk Fox that all of the restricting traditions actually have a good use, she'll become a wise ruler when she inherits the throne, because in Jade Empire's setting, rebelling against the heavenly order isn't a good thing. This subverts the trope. On the other hand, if you follow the Way of the Closed Fist and persuade Silk Fox that she should do whatever she wants, she plays the trope straight as a princess and as a ruler, she becomes a tyrant.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Secretly, admittedly, but she does try to act as a vigilante against Death's Hand's schemes. She drops this on the Open Palm path... but only because she turns out to be a talented administrator, preserving the spirit of the trope.
  • Tsundere: Downplayed, but she's still clearly very used to getting her way, and doesn't always react well to the player's lack of courtly manners.

    Sky 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_sky.jpg
Voiced by: Cam Clarke

A Lovable Rogue who seeks revenge on the crime lord Gao the Greater for murdering his five-year-old daughter. He joins the party after they beat him to it. A potential love interest for a Spirit Monk of either gender.

  • Berserk Button: Slavery of any kind. It's Personal, you see. He may not give a rip about The Laws of Heaven, but he is pretty ticked about the Brothers Sun enslaving a goddess.
  • Bi the Way: He can date either a male or a female Spirit Monk, though the Gay Option is rather harder to get.
  • Deal with the Devil: Late in the game, Death's Hand and the Lotus Assassins, off-screen, offer Sky a deal where they offer to restore his dead wife and daughter back to life if Sky would first lead the Spirit Monk into their trap. He does lead you into their trap, so at first it looks like he took the deal...only to reveal that he set his own trap, and he uses explosives he rigged earlier to kill the assassins, so you only have to fight Death's Hand. This was Sky's plan all along when he seemed to accept their offer.
  • Dual Wielding: Fights with two curved swords at once when set to attack enemies.
  • Dummied Out: An ending in which he is not forgiven for his seeming betrayal at Dirge and pursues his campaign of revenge until it claims his life.
  • Fake Defector: Lets Death's Hand into the inner Dirge Temple under offer of his daughter being brought back to life, so that he can spring a trap on him.
  • Gay Option: If the player is a gay male.
  • Good Running Evil: Takes over the Guild in every ending, assuming he's still alive. If he's Open Palm, it's this, with him taking the syndicate back to its honorable, semi-honest roots.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Despite his laid-back demeanor, he clearly misses his deceased wife and little girl with all his being.
  • Hide Your Gays: In order to have a same-sex romance with him, you have to make it absolutely clear that you are not interested in neither Dawn Star nor Silk Fox (which pretty much means you have to insult them) and then say the right things to him. Even then, the scene where you kiss is censored (but easily restored on the PC version.)
  • Ladykiller in Love: Starts of playfully flirting with you, but he doesn't know quite what to make of you at first. It will eventually evolve into love if you return his affections.
  • Lovable Rogue: He's generally a sort of Han Solo figure, a compassionate criminal with standards and sympathetic motives. If you're a female Closed Fist player and you romance him, the ending mentions that he becomes a villain instead.
  • Meet the New Boss: If he's Closed Fist, this is what happens when he takes over the Guild at the end of the game.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: On one when the player meets him. In cut content, if the player decides not to forgive him for his betrayal, he resumes fighting against the people behind Gao until he ultimately gets poisoned.

    The Black Whirlwind 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_black_whirlwind.jpg
Voiced by: Victor Brandt

A mercenary who is most famous for storming a fortress while naked, screaming, and drunk. He used to be an arena fighter of some renown, but left when Kai Lan the Serpent's schemes prompted him to accidentally kill his brother.

  • Abusive Parents: His father, whom he killed as a very young man.
  • An Axe to Grind: Two axes to be specific.
  • Ax-Crazy: Heh. More seriously, he isn't usually crazy unless he's drunk.
  • Badass Beard: It's shorter than usual, and combined with a Badass Mustache, but he's the only companion to rock facial hair, aside from, well, Chai Ka.
  • Blood Knight: He loves to fight, so much so that even the announcer starts calling him on it if he slaughters over one-hundred enemies during his personal battle sequence at the Siege of Dirge.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Whirlwind is loud, impulsive, and happiest when he's either drinking or fighting. If he can do both at the same time, he considers it even better.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: He mistakes you for a ghost and attacks you. After you beat him up, he joins out of admiration.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He once conquered the entire southern continent just because one of its inhabitants stole his wine.
  • Drunken Master: Played with, in that his being a drunk makes him a better fighter, but has led to many life problems. Still, during the Dirge battle sequence, he can top off his pools by chugging some wine.
  • Dumb Is Good: Fully averted. The Black Whirlwind isn't a stupid man, per se, but while he exhibits all the impulsive naivete associated with this trope, it tends to end in tears for other people and not getting money or wine for him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His meeting with you showcases his love of combat and his tendency to act before thinking.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Disgusted by a man forcing a girl to go into the dangerous crypts to pay back her debt under threat of being sent to the Wall. He also dislikes the treatment of the dead Water Dragon, believing she, like any opponent, deserved a clean and final death, not being strung up like a trophy.
  • Expy: Of the Black Whirlwind Li Kui from Water Margin. They're identical right down to appearance and armament.
  • Guttural Growler: He speaks with a growling baritone.
  • I Call It "Vera": His axes, the Twins.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Spoofed in one of his stories. He didn't threaten to cut a love triangle's woman in half - he straight up did it. Understandably, both sides weren't happy with this and attacked him, only to be cut down as well.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: How you first encounter him. The forest he is in has become filled with hostile ghosts, and when you first meet Black Whirlwind, he thinks you're a ghost, and immediately attacks without listening to reason.
  • Mercy Kill: His finishing off his brother, who was brainwashed to serve as the Ravager can be interpreted as this.
  • Odango Hair: Of all the hairstyles to have...
  • One-Man Army: He has faced entire armies more than once in the past. And you gain control over him against the Imperial Army in Dirge, giving you the chance to slay more than one hundred opponents.
  • Parental Abandonment: He killed his abusive father, and his mother disowned him.
  • Refuge in Audacity: His backstory and his ending. Never have killing and mutilating lots of mostly innocent people sounded more fun!
  • Self-Made Orphan: He killed his abusive father.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: Deconstructed. Black Whirlwind does not recognise any forms of conflict resolution that don't involve blood and violence. While he has managed to parlay this attitude into a somewhat successful career as a mercenary, it is made painfully clear just how much that attitude has cost him socially, emotionally and financially.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Ostensibly he's working for you as a mercenary, but it never really comes up much and he gets treated like any other companion. But he calls you 'master' when asking to fight Kai Lan because he really, really wants to kill him.

    Wild Flower 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_wild_flower10.jpg
With Chai Ka, top; and with Ya Zhen, below.
Voiced by: Nicky Pugh

A little girl who channels two opposing demons, Chai Ka and Ya Zhen.

  • Back from the Dead: She was killed during the flooding of Old Tien's Landing, but was resurrected by Chai Ka.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The final confrontation between Chai Ka and Ya Zhen.
  • Cheerful Child: In fact, as she can explain in dialogue, it was Chai Ka who told her to be cheerful. He also told her not to repeat everything he says...oh.
  • Creepy Child: Not so much when Chai Ka is speaking through her, but with Ya Zhen; A sneering male voice and furious red aura? Brr. Also, she was intentionally designed to have unsettling facial features. This is justified, since she's a resurrected corpse who was rotting for ten years.
  • Children Are Innocent: Decidedly Open Palm in her responses to moral decisions.
    • Also, even when the player isn't making a decision, Wild Flower has a noticeable distaste for Jerkass behavior in others. She can call Master Gang a jerk, or alternatively she can decide that Gang uses big words but seems small and lets others fight for him. She can also threaten Lotus Acolytes with the Guardian for being "bullies".
  • Little Guy, Big Buddy: The kid is pretty helpless on her own, but Chai Ka looks out for her and she thinks of him as her Guardian and friend. It's never stated outright how the big fellow actually sees her, but he is nice to her.
  • Willing Channeler: To Chai Ka. She likes the big guy (although admittedly, it helps immensely that Chai Ka brought her back to life, so she has good reason to pay him back by letting him borrow her body sometimes). Ya Zhen is a different matter entirely.
  • Unhappy Medium: She and Chai Ka have a good partnership and she thinks of the big guy as a friend, but she is not happy about Ya Zhen's treatment of her or having to be a host for him.

    Chai Ka 

A benevolent demon that is channeled by Wild Flower. He is often called "The Guardian."

  • Defeat Means Friendship: Like Silk Fox, he demands a fight before he'll join you, as a result of mistaking you for an enemy. In his case, you find him right after the Lotus Assassins steal the amulet piece from him, and he mistakenly assumes you're one of them.
  • Gentle Giant: He looks monstrous, but he's gentle enough for a little girl to repeatedly speak of him in glowing praise and rely on him for advice on life. Unless you take Ya Zhen's offer; then Chai Ka turns on you and you have to beat him.
  • Hybrid Monster: Has the body of a bipedal lion, the face of a shisa, the horns of a goat, and feathers growing out of his shoulders.
  • Little Guy, Big Buddy: It's ambiguous as to how he actually sees Wild Flower, but he does look after her and treats her nicely.
  • Mighty Glacier: Slower than most of your combat companions, but able to sling people around with his horned headbutt.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: He dislikes the actions taken by a Closed Fist Spirit Monk, but has sworn to serve him/her. He changes his mind if you side with Ya Zhen.

    Ya Zhen 
Voiced by: Gord Marriott

Chai Ka's Evil Counterpart. He is trying to forcibly take over Wild Flower. He is often called "The Other."

  • Admiring the Abomination: When he sees the cut-open Water Dragon, he is fascinated by it, and openly states that what it represents, the ambition to enslave one's own makers, is admirable.
  • Deal with the Devil: Offers one to the Spirit Monk: get rid of Chai Ka and let him possess Wild Flower, and Ya Zhen will make himself useful to the Spirit Monk. Unusually, he holds to the agreement quite peaceably, and serves the protagonist loyally without betraying them.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted; he has a higher pitch than Sagacious Zu and speaks in a sinister snake-like tone, while Chai Ka holds the deepest voice in any of your companions but speaks in a gentle, well-mannered tone.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When he's in control of Wild Flower, her eyes glow red.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Or amphibians, anyway. He is a toad-demon.
  • The Social Darwinist: It's clear Ya Zhen is just an evil bastard, but he sometimes uses rhetoric along these lines to justify himself.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He might not be the only Closed Fist party member in an Open Palm player's party, but he's easily the most evil. All the other Closed Fist party members are reasonably well-rounded, but not Ya Zhen.

    Henpecked Hou 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_hou.jpg
Voiced by: Josh Dean

A former Drunken Master who currently works as a cook. While his abusive wife forbids him from drinking and fighting, he is still able to give wine to the Spirit Monk to allow him/her to use the Drunken Master style.

  • Alliterative Name: Well, the first one's a nickname, so the one might've created the other.
  • Butt Monkey: Nothing in his life ever seems to have gone right. Until he makes his escape in the ending.
  • Chef of Iron: Although he has sworn off fighting.
  • Crutch Character: Instead of fighting directly he lets you use the Drunken Master style. While it's effective early on, it doesn't level up like the other styles so you won't have much use for Hou in combat late in the game.
  • Drunken Master: Retired.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Henpecked Hou fears his wife more than anyone in the world...except a protagonist who's willing to bind Death's Hand or bind the Water Dragon's power. Henpecked Hou would almost prefer to be with his wife rather than such a person.
  • Henpecked Husband: Heck, it's in his name.
  • Item Caddy: His only ability as a party member is to toss out wine that lets you use the Drunken Master style.
  • Non-Action Guy: He's no longer in any shape to fight as a result of his wife's efforts to get him to stop. Unless you try to sacrifice him.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: If you finished the game following the Way of the Open Palm, and thus weren't forced to kill Henpecked Hou, his ending reveals he does finally escape his overbearing wife: he takes a new job as a deliveryman after he and his wife have several daughters. However, he never comes back from his first delivery, and it's heavily implied that he simply took the opportunity to escape.
  • Took a Level in Badass: If you try to sacrifice him, the Water Dragon grants him her strength, allowing him to fight the party.

    Kang the Mad 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_kang.jpg
Voiced by: Paul Eiding

A Mad Scientist forced to develop flyers for Gao the Greater. He eventually decides that he has had enough of Gao's mistreatment and joins the party. He is actually the Inventor God Lord Lao, although he does not remember this.

  • Amnesiac God: His quest to find Lord Lao ends with his discovery that he is Lord Lao. It... doesn't change much about him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He is a very strange little man. He is also a peerless engineer.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He apparently wants to invent sharks armed with laser pistols.
  • Demolitions Expert: While he never fights, he's very proficient at making explosives.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Turns on Gao and Lim over being mistreated.
  • Faking the Dead: It's possible for him to do this in his ending, either to get away from the masses or to avoid having a Way of the Closed Fist protagonist abuse his work; specifically, he arranges for an explosion and makes it look like he died in that explosion.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: His inventions are the greatest of their kind in the Empire. And, possibly, in the cosmos.
  • Mad Scientist: Sort of. He's not insane, just... detached from the moral implications of his inventions.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: In his ending, regardless of whether or not he remembers that he is Lord Lao, Kang eventually decides that he can't make his best inventions unless his life is in danger, so he starts making weapons to give to the mobs that chase him.
  • Non-Action Guy: Toward the end of the game, you have to protect him as he blows up a bridge.
  • Support Party Member: Gameplay-wise, his only contribution as a party member is maintaining the Marvelous Dragonfly.
  • Uniqueness Decay: The reason he will not mass-produce his amazing inventions. One Marvelous Dragonfly is a technological marvel and work of art. Many of them would make them commonplace and dull.
  • The Wonka: He's completely off his gourd, scrambles his words, is rather oblivious to danger, has an unhealthy relationship with gunpowder, and looks like a Ming Dynasty version of Rummage Sale Reject. Then again, he's not operating on with the same thought process or morality of a mortal - he's an inventor god.

    Zin Bu the Magic Abacus 
Voiced by: Brian Stepanek

A member of the Celestial Bureaucracy. He used to be responsible for determining where people stand on the wheel of life, but his inability to keep up with the actions of the Spirit Monk caused him to be demoted. He decides to sell Essence Gems to the Spirit Monk to prove to his superiors that he is competent.

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: He overcharges you for you buy from him, compared to other merchants, and underpays you for what you sell. This is perhaps understandable, considering that you got him demoted.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: And HOW, but nothing compare to the entire department assigned to Black Whirlwind.
  • Support Party Member: His only purpose is to act as a shopkeeper that you can access at any time.

    Abbot Song 
Voiced by: Armin Shimerman

The ghost of the Abbot of the Temple of Dirge. He has been forced to relive the Battle of Dirge for the last twenty years due to the imprisonment of the Water Dragon. After the Spirit Monk is killed, he explains the truth behind the fall of Dirge. He fights alongside the Spirit Monk until he restores the Water Dragon's power, whereupon he is finally able to rest in peace.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He was the abbot of the Spirit Monks while he was alive. And he survived the massacre slightly longer than most of the order.
  • Awesome but Temporary: His support ability regenerates all three of the Spirit Monk's bars simultaneously. Having to go back to only one at a time when he leaves is disheartening.
  • Bald of Awesome: It's all-but mandatory for a Warrior Monk abbot.
  • Guest Star Party Member: He is the only party member (aside from Zin Bu) who can be used during the fifth chapter.
  • In the Back: He died by being cut down from behind by Sun Li.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Reveals that virtually everything Sun Li told you about his own actions was a lie.
  • Mr. Exposition: He has a lot to tell you, having been holding it in since his death.
  • The Rest Shall Pass: He died to try and buy time for the player character (who was an infant at the time) and the Spirit Monk caring for the baby to escape by facing off Sun Kin and Sun Li.
  • Warrior Monk: The Spirit Monks were the Water Dragon's servants and protectors.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Does this in flashback during the attack on Dirge, and is killed.

Other Characters

    Death's Hand / Sun Kin the Hand of Heaven 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_deaths_hand.jpg
Voiced by: Sherman Howard

The Big Bad. He leads the Lotus Assassins and is widely believed to be corrupting the Emperor. He is actually Sun Hai's very loyal second-in-command. He used to be Sun Kin, the youngest of the Brothers Sun and former leader of the Order of the Lotus (the precursor to the Lotus Assassins). He was killed by Sun Hai when he tried to commit fratricide himself as Hai was draining the Water Dragon's power. Sun Hai then bound his soul to Master Li's discarded armor. After he is defeated, the Spirit Monk has the opportunity to bind his soul, gaining him as a party member.

  • And I Must Scream: Having your soul bound is not a pleasant experience.
  • Animated Armor: His forces are manufacturing armies of golems out of human souls. And there's nothing left of him but his will, trapped in someone else's armor.
  • The Atoner: If the Spirit Monk binds his soul but kills the Water Dragon, Sun Kin regains control and becomes one.
  • Darth Vader Clone: The all-covering armour with masked helmet, attacking mutely and ruthlessly, and his position as the Empire's enforcer with suggestions he may have more power than the ailing, palace-bound emperor.
  • Disc One Final Boss: More in the sense that he isn't the Big Bad than the traditional one: he's still a Climax Boss fought very late in the game.
  • The Dragon: To Sun Hai, then Sun Li and potentially to the Spirit Monk.
  • The Dreaded: Nobody in the capitol even likes talking about him if they don't have to.
  • Dual Wielding: A long sword and a much shorter one.
  • Eleventh Hour Ranger: If recruited.
  • Enemy Without: The Spirit Monk defeats him by releasing the spirit of Sun Kin, which defeats Death's Hand.
  • Evil Chancellor: Subverted when he is revealed to be a decoy for Sun Hai.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Quite impressive for a guy with no lungs.
  • Hero Killer: As Sagacious Zu can attest.
  • Optional Party Member: Right before the final chapter of the game, he can be enslaved to the player's will.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Was once subjected to this by his brother the Emperor. Can potentially be subjected to it by you, the player.
  • Tin Tyrant: He completes the look well, because his armor is empty.
  • That Man Is Dead: His reaction to being called Prince Kin.
  • Weapon of Choice: His weapons are one long and one short black blade with a silvery edge.

    Master Li / Sun Li the Glorious Strategist 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_master_li.jpg
Voiced by: Barry Dennen

The Master of Two Rivers school, the unofficial mayor of Two Rivers and the Spirit Monk's Master. He reveals early on that he is Sun Li the Glorious Strategist, who betrayed the Emperor by attempting to stop the massacre at Dirge. Shortly afterwords, Two Rivers is burned and he is captured. He was actually the mastermind behind the massacre at Dirge. He manipulates the Spirit Monk into killing Sun Hai, whereupon he kills him/her and steals the power of the Water Dragon.

    Emperor Sun Hai 
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jade_empire_emperor.jpg
Voiced by: Armin Shimerman

Eldest of the Brothers Sun and ruler of the Jade Empire. He presided over the empire during the Long Drought, which he ended by binding the Water Dragon to his control. Now, problems are plaguing the kingdom, and it is feared that he is ineffectual in the face of Death's Hand's manipulation. In reality, Death's Hand and the Lotus Assassins answer to him and he cares only for his own power.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He handles himself rather well for a guy in a mianfu.
  • Barrier Change Boss: One of your types of moves will be ineffective against him at any given time, and he changes which one it is.
  • Beard of Evil: Combined with a classical Fu Manchu mustache.
  • Broken Pedestal: To Silk Fox.
  • Climax Boss: The battle with him can be quite difficult, and comes as a conclusion to the first part of the game.
  • Dead All Along: He was killed a while ago, but continues to rule as a ghost.
  • Disc One Final Boss: His defeat and your death signifies a lot of unexpected twists.
  • Duel Boss: Your party is paralyzed just before your battle to the death.
  • A God Am I: "I AM GOD-EMPEROR SUN!"
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: After taking the Water Dragon's heart, he gets figuratively and literally stabbed in the back by his brothers, but it does nothing, and Li runs away, abandoning Kin.
  • It's All About Me: He sees himself as entitled to the throne and refuses to accept that his rule or his empire will end.
  • Older Than They Look: As a result of absorbing the Water Dragon's power, he hasn't aged in 20 years, although his ghostly true form hints at the terrible price.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Subverted. Silk Fox, after learning that Li was the mastermind, wonders if it absolves him, but concludes that it does not.
  • This Cannot Be!: He shouts this word-to-word shortly before his defeat.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Said to be one to Death's Hand, but he's actually the one who is moving the pieces.
  • Walking Spoiler: Talking about him after he appears in the game will spoil that he's a villain, but not the main villain.

    Gao the Lesser 
Voiced by: Nathan Fillion

One of Master Li's strongest students at Two Rivers, but has a terrible attitude and dabbles in dark magic.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He's better than most of the students, but he's not the best. Rest assured, he's a dick about both of those things.
  • Big "NO!": When you catch up to him in the cave.
  • Duel Boss: In the match at the school, and potentially in the cave.
  • Entitled Bastard: A good bit of his rotten personality stems from his certainty that the world owes him things. He's right once, however, not that it justifies his behavior: Master Li really did owe Gao better training. But Gao the Lesser was wrong to assume the neglect was because Master Li particularly liked the protagonist.
  • Entitled to Have You: He's rich, handsome, and well-connected, and he doesn't really get that Dawn Star isn't into him despite that. Later, having "saved her life" by kidnapping her, he thinks that that qualifies for a Rescue Romance. Suffice it to say, he doesn't take rejection well.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: He's able to take down an ogre in a few hits and knock it under collapsing rubble. He uses Dire Flame to do it, a style well-suited to fighting ogres.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Dawn Star and another female student note that he's attractive enough, but his personality completely negates that. His character model is near-constantly scowling or sneering. On the other hand, he qualifies vocally given his voice actor.
  • Jerk Ass: Frequently tries to hit on Dawn Star in a very unwelcome fashion and acts superior to everyone else.
  • Never My Fault: Played straight most of the time: he blames the protagonist for his being kicked out of the academy (the man friggin' cheated in a sparring match), he blames Dawn Star for being trapped in a cave (he kidnapped Dawn Star to begin with!), etc. Dawn Star even lampshades the trope, it's always someone else's fault with Gao. There's actually one subversion, however: exactly one of Gao the Lesser's Never My Fault claims turns out to be absolutely correct. Which one? The one where Master Li plays favorites with the protagonist and neglects Gao and the other students. That one is actually true, though not for the reason Gao thinks.
  • Playing with Fire: This is how he cheats during his sparring match with you. First you beat him fair and square, but he can't accept losing, so he tries to throw a Dire Flame spell at you while your back is turned. Also, you can see him fight an ogre with Dire Flame in the cave.
  • Rival Turned Evil: He was always a dick, but it was only after the player humiliated him in a duel and Master Li kicked him out of the school for trying to cheat that he decided to use his dad's criminal connections to help raze the town.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Master Li let Gao overhear the conversation where he confesses his true identity to the Spirit Monk, knowing that Gao would tell his father, resulting in Li's capture and Two Rivers' destruction. All to set the Spirit Monk on his/her quest.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He has one when he sees, not that someone has come to rescue Dawn Star, but who it is.
    "Anyone but you!"

    Gao the Greater 
A crime-boss controlling a group of pirates and slavers, who is allied with the Lotus Assassins.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His son, Gao the Lesser. This trope is the reason why he's even a boss: he fights you to avenge his son's death. (He's unaware of the exact circumstances in which Gao the Lesser was killed, but probably wouldn't care even if he did find out the protagonist killed Gao the Lesser in self-defense while defending Dawn Star.)
  • Evil Sorcerer: While many characters can use magic, Gao is specifically talked of as a dark magic user.
  • Papa Wolf: For all his many, many faults, he did love his son and is furious with you for killing him.
  • Playing with Fire: Like his son, Gao the Greater can use Dire Flame.
  • Self-Made Man: Gao the Lesser admires his father for this reason, boasting that he turned a ragged bunch of bandits and slave traders into a thriving criminal enterprise.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Inquisitor Lim.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After hearing of his son's death.

     Inquisitor Lim 
A Lotus Assassin agent who is hunting pieces of the amulet near Tien's Landing.

  • Arc Villain: The main antagonist of Chapter 2.
  • Bald of Evil: Like all Lotus Assassins.
  • The Brute: Despite his ambitions, Jia regards him as little more than expendable muscle, a blunt instrument for a blunt task.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Evil scars are on his face, including an eyepatch.
  • Necro Mantic: Tries to offer to return Gao the Lesser to life for his father as a bargaining tool, though Gao the Greater is clever enough to know that it's a hollow promise and a generally bad idea.
  • The Starscream: Intends to personally deliver the amulet fragment to Death's Hand in order to get back at Jia.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Gao the Greater dislike each other, and tend to insult each other, argue, and shift blame when faced with the higher-ups in the Order.
  • You Have Failed Me: Threatens to leave Kang with the captive demons if he doesn't finish in time. This is possibly deconstructed when he realizes he'll be killed for his failures if he returns, and decides to kill the Spirit Monk and take the other amulet fragment in the hopes that it will make up for it. He fails and loses the amulet fragment, which not only means his own death but a setback to the Assassins' plans.

    Grand Inquisitor Jia 
Death's Hand's top lieutenant in the Lotus Assassins.

  • Cool Mask: She takes it off when you confront her.
  • Elemental Powers: The Closed Fist ones
  • The Evil Genius
  • Evil Old Folks: You eventually get to see her with her mask off. She looks like an aged crone underneath.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Fights with magic and oversees the construction of an army of golems.
  • Just Between You and Me: She reveals that the Emperor knew about what the Assassins were doing shortly before your battle.
  • Necromancer: Building an army of golems fueled by the tortured souls of kidnapped peasants and political dissidents.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a short one to the Lotus Assassins under her, saying that their infighting weakened the Order.
  • Villainous Valor: She's quite evil, but she's willing to lay down her own life without a second thought if that's what the Emperor or Death's Hand requires, and does so when you encounter her to buy time for Death's Hand to arrive and take you down permanently.

    The Water Dragon 
Voiced by: Jocelyn Ahlf

The Goddess who is responsible for seeing that souls are able to pass between this world and the next. She was killed at the Battle of Dirge, but her spirit appears to provide guidance to the Spirit Monk. Because of her nature, neither her spirit nor her body are quite dead; Sun Hai took her body to her palace, both to serve as a trophy, to open her veins and end the Great Drought through the water that she bleeds, and to absorb her power as the life drains from her. Her goal is to have the Spirit Monk Mercy Kill her so that she can be reborn.

  • And I Must Scream
  • Big Good
  • The Chessmaster
  • Mr. Exposition
  • Spanner in the Works: In the moments between when the Spirit Monk kills the Emperor and Master Li kills the Spirit Monk and starts to drain her power through the Dragon Amulet, she recovers enough strength to bring the Spirit Monk's spirit to a place in the afterlife where she can speak to them, and then send them Dirge, where they can help her begin to regain her power.
  • Too Dumb to Live: She tells the Spirit Monk how s/he can drain her power while cutting Li off from it. Granted, Abbot Song had already told the Monk how traitorous Spirit Monks used blood in the same manner, but this still isn't very smart, assuming the Spirit Monk is Closed Fist.

    Kai Lan the Serpent 
Voiced by: Simon Templeman

Former champion of the Imperial Arena. He is now a high ranking member of The Guild who uses his influence to rig the Arena matches for his own profit.

  • Arc Villain: He's responsible for all the crap the Spirit Monk has to go through in the Arena subplot.
  • Arch-Nemesis: The Black Whirlwind blames him for the death of his brother and will request that the Spirit Monk let him fight the Serpent in their place.
  • Heel: An in-universe example. While competing in the Arena, he deliberately built up a reputation as a douchebag so the crowd would love to hate him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: His substituting a fighter for a demon as part of a publicity stunt bites him in the ass when it sets a precedent that allows the Black Whirlwind to fight him in the Sprit Monk's place.
  • Necromancer: He's studied with the Lotus Assassins and learned their technique for reviving the dead. He uses this to bring back the recently deceased Raging Ox as The Ravager.
  • Smug Snake: Not only does he have a snake motif, his schemes never seem to work out, he's arrogant and abrasive.

    Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard 
Voiced by: John Cleese

Outlandernote  explorer and adventurer that has decided to 'educate' the Jade Empire after being shipwrecked there.

  • Artistic License – Economics: Gold isn't practical for use as currency without a large enough supply, which can be used as an argument against him.
  • BFG: Mirabelle.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He shoots down his original challenger while assuming a martial arts stance.
    As amusing as your savage dances are, once again I have proven the superiority of setting your nose to the grindstone and not mucking about.
  • Cultural Posturing: Appears to be his raison d'etre.
  • Establishing Character Moment: See Combat Pragmatist.
  • Evil Colonialist: His appearance seems to have been inspired by examples of this trope, though he's in no condition to colonize the Jade Empire. He's not really evil, so much as unable to accept that his culture might not be superior in all things.
  • Glass Cannon: He's almost helpless in close range, but his gun does a lot of damage.
  • Graceful Loser: Reacts to losing the "debate" by blustering and accusing the judges of bias, but if he loses the trial by combat he accepts defeat in a surprisingly dignified manner. He'll even give you his beloved Mirabelle if you demand it.
  • I Call It "Vera": Mirabelle
  • Instant-Win Condition: In the "debate", if you get all five judges to vote in your favor at the same time, you win.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: In the "debate" he brings up a few legitimate criticisms of the Empire, as well as lampshading how the Magitek shouldn't really work. The scholars even note that while his arguments aren't without merit, he's still a nuisance who needs to be dealt with.
  • Kick the Dog: If the player loses the duel he says that a dog has to be put down, and executes them. He's also first seen killing his challenger with Mirabelle, as shown under Combat Pragmatist.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: His epilogue states that he might eventually be killed by the Black Whirlwind, who is the exact kind of uncultured brute he rails against.
  • Mighty Whitey: Subversion, Parody and Deconstruction. Averted in that the protagonist bests him. Played straight in that it's strongly implied he had killed dozens of challengers with his Mirabelle. And he's just some random shipwrecked guy! Of course, his views of the Empire are a bizarre mixture of legitimate and... not so much.
  • Not So Different: While he is clearly an arrogant snob, convinced that his own culture is superior, the various scholars of the Jade Empire he debates with are no better on either front.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Of the snobbish variety.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Flatly refuses to believe the Emperor's palace can fly, even though you can see it in the air from where he's standing.
  • Smug Snake: Even though his name indicates otherwise.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Being a British stereotype, he's pompous and stuffy to the extreme. His epilogue states that he would eventually find the Fountain of Couth.
  • The Mean Brit
  • This Cannot Be!: Delivers a statement to this effect if you get all five judges in your favor at the same time.
    "What? My monocle must be fogged! I can't see a single vote in my favor!"

     The Forest Shadow 
The guardian spirit of the Great Southern Forest, and a Fox Spirit. For some reason she has been killing people from the Pilgrim's Rest inn and the Innkeeper is willing to pay half a year's worth of taxes for her to die. It turns out that she bound the demon known as "The Mother", which is corrupting the inn people to cannibalism, centuries ago and now seeks the Spirit Monk's help defeating her once and for all.

  • Barrier Maiden: She powers the seal holding The Mother, and if you decide to kill her it is released. Or she can release it willingly so you can slay it.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Aside from attacking the Spirit Monk to recruit them, if asked she gives an example of a "morality lesson" that her fox spirits may give to mortals that seems rather contradictory.
  • The Chessmaster: She attacks the Spirit Monk in order to pique their curiosity about the Inn and her and ensure they come to her, whether to help her or kill her.
    • The first time she bound the Mother she tricked the kingdoms claiming her forest into burning the blighted woods down, thus weakening both her and the Mother and allowing the prepared fox spirit to bind her. She did this by telling the kings that their neighbors planned on burning the forest, so they made "pre-emptive strikes". Since they were each preparing to burn down the forest themselves, they had things like forest fire breakers and such to prevent it from damaging their own developed holdings (villages, etc). With nowhere to go but inward, Mother's power base was torched.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: See above
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: First time she appears, she turns a cannibal into a statue and shatters him, then pins the Spirit Monk to the ground and petrifies them, but they break free and she flees. If you choose to fight her, she is still formidable but does not try that again.
  • Fantastic Foxes: She and her servants are humanoid fox spirits with two tails.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With her elephant demon bodyguard Shining Tusk
  • Ms Exposition: She explains that the blue spirit is the Water Dragon and that the Spirit Monk is the one who must save her.
  • Shock and Awe: Her area-effect attack.
  • What the Hell Are You?: When the Spirit Monk No Sells her Stone Immortal attack, she asks quizzically, "What are you?"
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/JadeEmpire