The character sheet for Jade Empire. Beware possible unmarked spoilers.
The Spirit Monk
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.
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.
Unwitting Pawn: "He trained you to fight a tyrant, but with a flaw. He wanted you to be vulnerable in your moment of triumph.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Retired Monster: Apart from the killing of Li's family, he has no remorse about what he did
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: If you're a female Closed Fist player and you romance him, the ending mentions that he becomes a villain instead.
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
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 kill his brother.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 tougher and 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.
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.
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 reasonablywell-rounded, but not Ya Zhen.
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.
Even Henpecked Husbands Have 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.
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.
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.
Hey, It's That Voice!: Since he's voiced by Paul Eiding, he sounds a lot like Dr. N. Zyme, the scientist who accidentally turned a treacherous fellow scientist into Dr. Viper from SWAT Kats.
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.
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.
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.
The Big Bad. He leads the Lotus Assassins and is widely believed to be corrupting the Emperor. Or at least, that's what we're initially told. 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.
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.
Hyper Competent Sidekick: Organized the Emperor's armies for him before his fall from grace. He's a deconstruction. He started his scheme when he realized that he would be a far better emperor than Sun Hai.
Lack of Empathy: He is incapable of seeing people as anything more than tools. He claims that his initial reaction at learning that Sun Hai executed his family was anger at his brother for destroying his possessions without permission.
The Man Behind the Man: In a manner of speaking. He did manipulate events in his favour, but by the time the forces of evil answer to him he has already stepped out in the open.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He presents himself as such at the end of the game, but his idea of a "utopia" is an Orwellian dictatorship where he's in control of everything and everyone, ruling as a god.
Emperor Sun Hai
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.
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.
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.
Jerk Ass: Frequently tries to hit on Dawn Star in a very unwelcome fashion and acts superior to everyone else.
Kill It 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.
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.
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.
Necro Mantic: Tries to offer to return Gou the Lesser to life for his father as a bargaining tool, though Gao the Greater is clever enough to know not to.
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, 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.
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. Sun Hai has kept her alive using a machine, both to end the Great Drought through the water that she bleeds and to absorb her powers. Her goal is to have the Spirit Monk Mercy Kill her so that she can be reborn.
Spanner in the Works: In the moments between when Master Li kills the Spirit Monk and when he starts to drain her power, she is able to bring the Spirit Monk's spirit to Dirge, where s/he 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 his / her 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, and he's arrogant and abrasive.
Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard
Outlandernote Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the British Empire, although Roderick wears typical Conquistador armor explorer and adventurer that has decided to 'educate' the Jade Empire after being shipwrecked there.
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, just snobbish and culturally insensitive.
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.
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 Magi Tech shouldn't really work.
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.
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.