The character sheet for Jade Empire.
Beware of spoilers!
The Spirit Monk
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.
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: A Closed Fist Spirit Monk sees themselves as superior to everyone else on account of their skill and strength.
- Badass Bisexual: Should the male PC romance Sky or the female PC romance Silk Fox, they become this.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: You start the game with only martial arts attacks.
- 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.
- Canon Name: Each of the Spirit Monks have default names.
- 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.
- 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).
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Each gender is sorted out between 3 fighting styles, Wu the Lotus Blossom and Lu the Prodigy are "Balanced", Furious Ming and Radient Jen Zi are "Fast", and Monk Zheng and Ling the Scholar are "Magic". Mong Zeng however is the only "Strong" character.
- 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, you become the God Emperor.
- Instant Expert: You character can can master new martial arts styles in a matter of a few in-story hours. It's implied that you're a prodigy, and also that Master Li is such a damn good teacher that the fundamentals in which he trained you make picking up everything else a breeze.
- Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Master Li raised the Spirit Monk to kill the Emperor..
- Last of His Kind: The only surviving Spirit Monk.
- Martial Pacifist: The "Open Palm" path has you try to avoid conflict unless necessary to save yourself or others.
- Ms. Fanservice: All three female player models have an aspect of fanservice:
- Wu the Lotus Blossom bares her midriff and hikes up some Grade-A Zettai Ryouiki.
- Scholar Ling has a Cleavage Window and a bust that may be even more bountiful than they already appear.
- Radiant Jen Zi has legs as distractive as Dawn Star's.
- 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.
- Sent Into Hiding: Was secreted away and hidden from the world and his siblings by the Big Bad, while they concocted a master plan that would involve using the said monk as means to achieve the title of Emperor, and ultimately, godhood and immortal life.
- The Social Darwinist: A Closed Fist Spirit Monk believes that the weak have no purpose beyond serving the strong.
- 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.
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. 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: The Spirit Monk is her oldest friend and she's a potential love interest for a male Spirit Monk. 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.
- FaceHeel 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.
- However, it's relative based on whether she learns that Sun Li is her father and never cared about her. If she never learns the truth, then she becomes a tempering influence on the Spirit Monk, and together they lead the Empire into a strong and prosperous future. However, if she does learn the truth, she becomes very bitter and grows to be just as cruel as the Spirit Monk, leading the Empire into a totalitarian age.
- 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.
- If she never learns the truth about Sun Li and is romanced by the Spirit Monk, she manages to turn even the evil ending into something of a good ending as by tempering the Spirit Monk's more forceful actions with compassion, they together lead the Jade Empire into a prosperous age.
- 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: Her theme music is 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."
A hermit 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.
- Badass Boast: Gives one in his introduction scene to Gao's mercenaries before killing them."I am no common bandit! I've been hunted by far worse than you!"
- 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: Is stabbed by the sword of Death's Hand before they're buried by rumble.
- 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
- Non-Indicative Name: Zu's title is the same as of the first emperor, Sagacious Tien. Upon first hearing it, the player can question the compatibility.The player: I don't picture a thoughtful and perceptive emperor fighting in a swamp.Zu: I see your point. There are differences. Tien was a knowledgeable man, whereas I feel that a person can sometimes think too much.
- 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.Hui the Brave: 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. It bears resemblance to the Demon Staff that's accessible only in the PC version.
- 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.
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.
- For the female PC, she's also the Veronica to Sky's 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.
- Uptown Girl: To the protagonist, if the romance option is pursued. This is discussed in their dialogue.
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.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Silk Fox's Veronica.
- 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 Counterpart: To Gao the Greater. They both lead a life of crime, but while Sky is a Loveable Rogue who hates anything related to slavery, Gao makes profit out of it as the leader of the Guild. They both want revenge after they lose their children. Depending on the player's choices, Sky takes Gao's position as the Guild's leader and either turns them on a more honorable path or keeps them the same.
- 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.
- Retired Badass: He was an adventurous thief in his youth, but after the death of his wife in childbirth left him a single father, he settled down to be a peaceful farmer for many years. Then the death of his daughter forced him to employ his old skills again as part of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- 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.
- Vengeance Denied: Sky does not manage to reach Gao the Greater until after the player kills him.
The Black Whirlwind
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. (He's usually 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.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: After a drinking spree, he sometimes finds himself in someone's bed with no idea how he got there.
- 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.Spear Catches Leaf: How can you fight so well when all you do is drink?The Black Whirlwind: It's harder to drink your watered down swill than face those ghosts.
- 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.
- Mathematician's Answer: If asked how could he have passed on the Judgment of Solomon above, he answers that it was easy because of the woman's petite built and the sharpness of his axes.
- 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.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The name of "the Black Whirlwind" was probably gained during one of his raids (he can't remember for sure) and it stuck.
- Parental Abandonment: He killed his abusive father, and his mother disowned him.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Should the Kai Lan sidequest happen and Lucky Cho attacks you, Whirlwind makes an epic line while brandishing his axes."I've been waiting for this. Time to cut off the Serpent's tail!"
- Red Baron: Unlike most examples of this trope, Whirlwind goes by his title in his everyday life. It was considered intimidating enough to pass as his Imperial Arena fighter alias. During the battle of Dirge, he gains several more titles as he kills more and more Lotus Assassins; "Bringer of pain", "Destroyer of lives" and "Ravager of the ages".
- Refuge in Audacity: His backstory and his ending. Never have killing and mutilating lots of mostly innocent people sounded more fun!
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: The opposite of Henpecked Hou, Whirlwind has no support form and can only attack, and he's not exactly what you'd call smart, although he does have a certain brutal wit. He makes up for this by being very, very good at fighting.
- Self-Made Orphan: He killed his abusive father.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Henpecked Hou's sensitive guy, being the Boisterous Bruiser with an affinity for drinking while Hou's a babbling Non-Action Guy.
- 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.
A little girl who channels two opposing demons, Chai Ka and Ya Zhen, each of whom is a separate combat/support follower. The two demons only appear in combat, however — the rest of time, Wild Flower will be the one following you.
- Back from the Dead: She was killed during the flooding of Old Tien's Landing, but was resurrected by Chai Ka. In the Open Palm ending, Chai Ka leaves her body and allows her to live on as a normal girl after finishing what needs to be done.
- Badass Adorable: A small young cheerful girl who transforms into a giant demon in combat.
- 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".
- Killer Rabbit: She may be small, but once Chai Ka/Ya Zhen come out, it's over.
- 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 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.
- Papa Wolf: Often fights with Ya Zhen and suppresses him so he doesn't take over Wild Flower. He isn't called "The Guardian" for no reason!
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.
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: A former Drunken Master turned bun master, although he has sworn off fighting.
- Cowardly Lion: Turns out he's willing to fight back after all, following a power-up should the Spirit Monk opt to keep the Water Dragon enslaved.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially on the subject of his wife, of course.
- Domestic Abuse: He's on the receiving end.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: His domineering wife poisoned him, to the point where he lost so badly that he had to retire. They're still together, and it's all Played for Laughs.
- Drunken Master: Retired. Not entirely by choice, mind you.
- 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.
- Game-Breaking Injury: He was badly beaten and never fully recovered after his "duplicitous dove" spiked his wine in a match, in a bid to curtail his drinking and fighting.
- Geek Physiques: A scrawny nebbish, about half the size of other NPCs.
- The Ghost: The unseen, overbearing specter of his beloved wife, who only appears in the stories Hou tells.
- 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.
- Plucky Comic Relief: He's been beaten down over the years, but he's not out yet, and his apparently unbearable domestic life is mostly mined for slapstick comedy.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Black Whirlwind's manly man, Hou's a babbling Non-Action Guy while Black Whirldwind is a Boisterous Bruiser with an affinity for drinking.
- Sickening Sweethearts: Subverted. Hou has any number of nicknames for his wife which are a combination of terms of endearment and insults.
- Support Party Member: He's completely out of condition and has lost all of his former fighting ability, so he can only be put in Support Form, during which the only thing he does is toss out jugs of wine which allow you to use Drunken Master style.
- 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.
- Workaholic: He became a bun master and spends as much time at work (and away from his wife) as he possibly can.
Kang the Mad
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.
Kang doesn't join the Spirit Monk in ground-based combat, but is your copilot and mechanic aboard the Marvelous Dragonfly.
- 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.
- Dissimile: He loves this Trope, such as suggesting the player have Gao the Greater experience "a combat-related accident" "like falling down a flight of punches."
- 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
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 fairly understandable, considering that you got him demoted.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: He couldn't keep up with the paperwork that you created, and took the fall when you were assigned an entire department of the Celestial Bureaucracy for tabulating your karma, just like Black Whirlwind.
- Support Party Member: His only purpose is to act as a shopkeeper that you can access at any time.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His only appearance is in his introduction, and while he does show up in the follower menu, he doesn't appear anywhere else, he doesn't even have his own ending slide in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
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. 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.
- Barred from the Afterlife: Like many other spirits of the dead, he's unable to enter the Great Wheel because of the Water Dragon's absence. Purification of the Dirge from the Other's taint allows him and the other loyal Spirit Monks to ascend.
- Blue Is Heroic: Abbot Song wears the blue shirt the Spirit Monks wear and is a devoted servant of the goddess of rebirth.
- Closed Circle: Following his death, Abbot Song has been trapped in Dirge's outer courtyard for twenty years, forced to witness the spirits of his fellow Spirit Monks and Imperial soldiers locked in a never-ending battle without being able to change it and leave the Dirge or enter it through the sealed gates. This changes only when he joins the player in the restoration of Dirge's fountains.
- Disappears into Light: This happens to Abbot Song and the other deceased Spirit Monks when they're freed from the endless battle of Dirge.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Several less moral Spirit Monks such as Xian Wu were bribed to betray their order. Abbot Song noted strange behavior in them but never suspected betrayal from them because duty and honor are ingrained values of Spirit Monks.
- 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.
- Shovel Strike: He fights with a monk's spade.
- This Is as Far as I Go: This trope is invoked on Abbot Song rather than him pulling it off unprompted. Before the player enters the temple of Dirge, Abbot Song is instructed by the Water Dragon to remain in the courtyard and lead his fellow Spirit Monks out of the endless battle. The abbot doesn't believe he's up to the task after twenty years of failure and asks to be allowed with the player to face the Other, but he changes his mind after gaining few encouraging words from the Water Dragon.
- Undying Loyalty: He served the Water Dragon faithfully in life and fought to the death to protect her temple. Twenty years of separation from her as a restless ghost hasn't changed that loyalty.
- 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.
The Lotus Assassins
Spoilers follow. He used to be Sun Kin the Hand of Heaven, 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.
- Black Knight: An enigmatic and intimidating swordsman in a black armor who leads the Emperor's elite enforcers.
- Black Swords Are Better: Fights with two black blades devastatingly. It's no coincidence that it was Prince Sun Kin and not the person wearing the armor of Death's Hand who carried the same weapons in flashbacks.
- 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. He's also related to two of the protagonists, and he kills the person who hid one of them when they were an infant.
- 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.
- 11th-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.
- Implacable Man: As long as his controller channels the Water Dragon's power through him, Death's Hand will rise from every defeat.
- Karma Houdini: See below.
- Killed Off for Real: There is a way for Death hand to die without atoning for his sins.If you fail to win against Death Hand as Sun Kin, Death Hand will cease to exist as he can't survive without his other half, falling to the floor. Doing this will not allow you to let his poor spirit rest, or to control him.Oblivion... is preferable.
- Meaningful Name: The feared head of an organization of killers in service to the Emperor. Sun Hai himself states that Death's Hand is his Hand shortly before he's revealed to be a ghost. What's more, Death's Hand is himself a decedent.
- Optional Party Member: Right before the final chapter of the game, he can be enslaved to the player's will.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: A ruthless killer in a red mask and black armor. To quote Master Li, that is the armor of a man who has no remorse or pity. Except that the armor belonged originally to the speaker of those words, not the soul bound to it.
- 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.
Death's Hand's top lieutenant in the Lotus Assassins.
- Cool Mask: She takes it off when you confront her.
- Malevolent Masked Man: Or woman.
- 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.
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.
The Sun Brothers
Master Li / Sun Li the Glorious Strategist
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.
Major spoilers follow. 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.
- Agent Provocateur: He constantly berated Gao the Lesser to make him a Green-Eyed Monster of the player, and have him run to his Dad and his Lotus Assassin buddies when he let him overhear that he was Sun Li himself.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the figurehead of Two Rivers, the former leader of the Imperial Army and eventually the Jade Empire's new Emperor.
- Badass Beard / Beard of Evil: Combined with a barely visible Badass Mustache.
- Badass Grandpa: Almost literally, more like a Badass Dad, but definitely no Papa Wolf: he's Dawn Star's father, but he doesn't care one bit.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Favors Martial Styles over weapons, though he is also proficient in magic, and used to wield a sword as the Emperor's general.
- Big Bad: Master Li turns out to be the true main antagonist and Final Boss of the game. He orchestrated the player's journey so that they could kill Hai and allow him seize the throne and the Water Dragon's power for himself. Also, it was only thanks to the Glorious Strategist's ingeniousness that Sun Hai managed to steal the Water Dragon's power in the first place.
- Broken Pedestal: To the Spirit Monk and Dawn Star.
- The Chessmaster: While he does play on people's emotions as well, his major strength lies in manipulating events.
- The Chooser of The One: He, not the Water Dragon, was the one who set up the conditions for you to be The Chosen One.
- Deadpan Snarker: Although it's easy to miss.
- Evil Counterpart: To the PC if played Open Palm. In fact, if you listen to his Motive Rant and recall Smiling Mountain's lecture about the dangers of the way of the Open Palm back at the beginning, you'll realize that he's the perfect example of the "dark" side of Open Palm Mountain had described.
- Evil Virtues: As the Water Dragon states, the Glorious Strategist knows the value of patience.
- Exact Words: He actually explains his entire plan and most of the twists up to his betrayal in his Exposition Dump in the prolog, disguised as generic "Wise Mentor" platitudes. If the player starts asking pointed questions instead of respectfully going along with it he gets visibly nervous.
- Famous Last Words: "I'm a better teacher... than I thought."
- Graceful Loser: Takes his final defeat by the Spirit Monk and failure of his 20 year long gambit for absolute power surprisingly well, choosing to indirectly compliment his student at his dying breath.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: See the Famous Last Words entry above.
- 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. He finds out Dawn Star is his daughter; his reaction is a mere "Interesting but don't care."
- 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.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: His idea of a "utopia" is an Orwellian dictatorship where he's in control of everything and everyone, ruling as a god.
- Papa Wolf: Do not harm his students at least until he needs you to. Although he'll probably kill you anyway.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Master Li gives one at the beach before killing the Lotus Assassin with just four strikes."Your search is over, Assassin, but no one will hear of your success."
- Psychotic Smirk: He gives this once his face is revealed during the true flashback regarding the fall of Dirge.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Gao the Lesser loses in a fair duel against the player and tries to attack them with a style he was explicitly forbidden to use, Master Li puts him in his place with a harsh tone.Master Li: Gao! I have made enough concessions to you today! I thought I could guide you away from your corrupted path, but you are too much the son of Gao the Greater! You are no longer welcome among my students, and your father's house shall have no more business here, despite his influence.Gao the Lesser: I was not beaten! Not by this peasant!Master Li: You were defeated by your own foolish ambition and predictable temper. I will speak with you in my chambers about your expulsion. Go now!
- Sabotutor: He deliberately integrated into the Spirit Monk's fighting style flaws that only he could exploit the moment he wanted them dead.
- So Proud of You: He tells this to the Spirit Monk after they've killed Sun Hai. It turns into a cruel twist when he kills them after this.
- The Sociopath: An extremely high-functioning example. He spent twenty years raising a Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb from infancy while masquerading as a kind and wise parental figure, but doesn't hesitate to kill them once their purpose is served. As the new Emperor, he retains his outward sensibility that is not supported by his actions. He cannot feel true attachment even for his own family, which he confesses at a time he has nothing to lose from it. He gives rational explanations for his actions, yet admits at the height of his power that he slaughtered thousands of Spirit Monks just for a chance to be a god. His idea of an utopia includes control and obedience at the cost of individuality, and he believes that he can force the spirits of the dead to rest.
- The Spock: Master Li is regarded as a highly capable man even by his enemies. While he's composed and polite, he doesn't display much emotion even when congratulating his protege. He also rarely raises his soft yet deep voice, but when he does, you know you're in trouble. Raising a Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb for twenty years in a facade of a caring man and killing them without trouble once they've served their purpose speaks of an especially dark example of this trope. What's more, he's incapable of caring even for his family beyond practical value.
- Stern Teacher: It's said that he doesn't praise his students overly much, but inwardly cares for their development. In truth, he doesn't care at all, beyond his own plans.
- Treacherous Advisor
- The Villain Makes the Plot: His entire Batman Gambit makes up the entirety of the first two thirds of the game; the Spirit Monk bringing him down makes up the rest.
- Villainous Breakdown: After he is cut off from the Water Dragon's power, he lets out a very satisfying scream of rage. Unfortunately, he's largely recovered by the time you fight.
- Walking Spoiler: Very much so, with good reason.
- We Can Rule Together: He offers the Spirit Monk the chance to die a martyr for his utopia.
Emperor Sun Hai
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.
- Bright Is Not Good: His clothes are bright in color, which is not telling of his selfish personality.
- 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.
- Evil Is Petty:
- He bound the spirit of his nearly dead youngest brother to Li's armor. The reason? To taunt Li.
- After his brother Li turned against him, Sun Hai ordered the Lotus Assassins to execute Li's innocent wife and newborn child. The sheer pettiness of it was enough for Sagacious Zu to turn on his comrades, save the babe and go into hiding.
- Femme Fatalons: Has long sharpened nails to reinforce his classical evil emperor appearance.
- 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.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As arrogant and selfish as Sun Hai is when finally introduced, he brings up the convenience of how the Spirit Monk has arrived before him by following the path set by his brother. As soon as Hai dies, Li murders his student who has fulfilled the purpose of his master plan.
- Light Is Not Good: He wears golden clothes, glows golden, uses flashy magic, has the powers of a divine being, and is cold and selfish.
- No Body Left Behind: He dissolves upon his defeat like the enemy ghosts.
- Older Than They Look: Sun Hai's the whitehaired Master Li's elder brother, yet he has black hair and the looks of a man in his forties. 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.
The Water Dragon
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: After Sun Hai killed the Water Dragon, her body was cut open and preserved in an eternal state between life and death to give endless amounts of water to Jade Empire and power to Sun Hai and Sun Li after him. Her separated spirit has been forced to witness her body's desecration for twenty years in a nearly powerless state.
- Big Good: The plot of the entire game goes back to the Water Dragon. She was revered by an order of monks, of which the player character is the last living member. The Long Drought was ended when Master Li's brother, Emperor Sun Hai, brought her down and gained water from her bleeding body to feed Jade Empire. She's also responsible for guiding the death to rebirth, and her demise has left the Empire filled with restless ghosts with increasing rate. The good ending has the Water Dragon allowed to reborn and the natural order restored.
- The Chessmaster: She morphs Master Li's entire plan into one of her own to restore herself and the natural order. Of course you have to be a celestial being to best the mortal whose title of the Glorious Strategist is well-earned.
- Dragons Are Divine: The Water Dragon is a major goddess in the Celestial Bureaucracy, being responsible for equal distribution of rainfall across the world, and the safe passage of dead souls to the afterlife.
- Enigmatic Empowering Entity: From the moment the Spirit Monk gains the Dragon Amulet, the Water Dragon appears at different points to offer vague advice and once to grant your first Magic fighting style (either Dire Flame or Ice Shard). It's after the Spirit Monk's death that she becomes less ambiguous.
- Foreshadowing: It's not clear who the ghostly woman in blue is at first, but she's blue and keen-eyed players will note that, incongruously, part of her "skin" has scales...
- Heavenly Blue: She is a goddess and makes her appearances as a bluish woman.
- Ms. Exposition: She guides the player through the game.
- Psychopomp: Her job is to guide souls to the afterlife.
- 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 to 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.
Gao the Lesser
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.
- Hate Sink: Gao is a very despicable man who spends almost all of his time being a jerk to other people. His despicable acts include cheating in a match with the spirit monk (which he deservedly got expelled for), kidnapping Dawn Star, and murdering a student by torching him with Dire Flame. His last name of the lesser just blatantly symbolizes the fact that he is a scumbag.
- 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."No! No! Anyone but you!"
Gao the Greater
A crime boss controlling a group of pirates and slavers, 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 Counterpart: To Sky. They both lead a life of crime, but while Sky is a Loveable Rogue who hates anything related to slavery, Gao makes profit out of it. They both want revenge after they lose their children. Depending on the player's choices, Sky takes Gao's position as the Guild's leader and either turns them on a more honorable path or keeps them the same.
- 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.
Kai Lan the Serpent
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.
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: During the private meeting with him, the player can outright refuse to cheat in fights on Kai Lan's behalf.Kai Lan: "Cheat" is such a pedestrian term. I prefer to think of myself as a creative engineer.
- 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. He continues to play this up now that he's the boss, and this backfires on him in the most direct way possible: When the PC climbs into the Gold Division, he can't stop them from challenging for the championship because the crowd will be rooting for a Face to defeat his invincible champion.
- 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, but his schemes never seem to work out, and he's arrogant and abrasive.
Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard
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.
- Multi-Ethnic Name: An odd mix of English, Spanish*; and German. Appropriate, as while he projects several British mannerisms, he's more of a representation of European colonialism in general.
- 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.
- Overly Long Name: Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard could be a complete sentence on its own.
- 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: His very introduction involves shooting someone dead and then insulting the Jade Empire culture.
- 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?"