Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

The History of the Jade Empire (from the manual) posted:

The Jade Empire. Fashioned from the Void by the will of the Great Dragon and blessed from its creation, the empire stands at the heart of the civilized world -- a cultural wellspring in a sea of barbarity.

The majesty of the Sun Dynasty has guided our people for generations, sustaining our prosperity throughout the ages. The peace of the realm was broken only when nature itself rebelled, withering the land in a decade of thirst. Yet even this the Emperor Sun Hai would not allow. For when he declared the Long Drought at an end, it was so.

Though you were raised far from the benevolent gaze of the Emperor, you have learned much here in Two Rivers, including mastery of your body and mind. Now, the end of your time at this borderland school draws near. Experience will replace lessons as you travel beyond the shelter of Two Rivers. Remember; though the reach of the Empire stretches far, powerful spirits lurk just beneath the surface, and the threat of chaos is ever-present.

It is natural that an orphan like you would have many questions. Until now, your inquiries have been met with silence. Perhaps on this day, answers will find you at last.

Jade Empire is an action RPG set in a fantasy world based on Chinese mythology, developed by BioWare and originally released for the Xbox in 2005. Jade Empire was ported to PC in 2007 as Jade Empire: Special Edition, which also came out for iOS and Android in 2016. The Special Edition is the same basic game as the original release, but adds a couple of new fighting styles as well as an extra playable character (that was previously exclusive to the Xbox Limited Edition). The LE actually has an exclusive style that didn't make it over to the Special Edition, but other than that the Special Edition is basically the Limited Edition with even more content.

Generally speaking, Jade Empire is one of BioWare's less popular titles and is very streamlined (someone might say dumbed down) in comparison to their earlier work. There are a few stats you can raise as you level up and a couple of skills, as well as a decent selection of fighting styles, but there's not much in the way of number-crunchy RPG stuff. Combat is still turn-based at least from a technical standpoint, but has been tweaked to feel as close to real-time as you can get, and is also rather simplistic. Only one party member can be selected as an active follower, and character customization is rather minimal with only a handful of preset character models to choose from (you can at least customize their fighting styles, stats, and name). As a result of the streamlining, a lot of old-school BioWare fans and even those who came on board with KotOR like I did were a bit unhappy when this game came out. There was planned to be quite a bit more to the game than eventually ended up in the final release, as at least one major area had to be cut and a town-building minigame (where you supposedly could run your own martial arts school) also got axed.

Despite being a leaner experience than the ones BioWare fans were accustomed to at the time, Jade Empire is certainly not a bad game (even though the 9.9 score from IGN may have been slightly over the top). It still has a ton of sidequests, cool areas to explore, lots and lots of dialog, memorable characters (and romance subplots if that's your thing), striking art design that helps the visuals hold up quite nicely to this day (hence the "Art" thread tag), and a fantastic soundtrack composed by Jack Wall. Those who like the game tend to really like it and I'd consider myself a fan of Jade Empire as well, having completed multiple playthroughs over the years. Unfortunately, BioWare has never gotten around to making a sequel, which is very much a shame because I think this world had potential for a lot more than we see here.

Despite the fact the Xbox cover art is more prominent in the OP, I'm playing the Special Edition on PC. This LP is done in screenshot format due to the sheer amount of talking to people and running around. I am going to add videos (without commentary) for bigger fights and other cool moments that screenshots don't quite do justice to. I don't have any kind of strict update schedule because I'm a lazy bum (as those who followed my GTA4 VLP can confirm), but I'll try to get at least one update posted each week or so.

Oh yeah, this is an Open Palm (good) playthrough. Every other Jade Empire LP I have seen has gone full Closed Fist rear end in a top hat, which just isn't my style at all. Yeah, I'm one of those weirdos who don't like playing evil characters in RPGs.

:frogsiren: SPOILER POLICY: ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS (this includes vague wink-wink-nudge-nudge poo poo) :frogsiren:


Episode 00: Character Selection

Chapter 1

Episode 01: Tale of Two Rivers
Episode 02: Ghosts at the Beach
Episode 03: Exposition Dump, Part One
Episode 04: The Dragon Amulet (Exposition Dump, Part Two)
Episode 05: Red Skies

Chapter 2

Episode 06: The Landing
Episode 07: The Brave
Episode 08: Wu the Lotus Blossom's Kitchen Nightmares
Episode 09: The Beaten Baker
Episode 10: Matchmaker
Episode 11: Preparations
Episode 12: Ashes and Bones
Episode 13: The Jade Heart
Episode 14: Pirates!
Episode 15: Marvelous Dragonfly
Episode 16: A Forest
Episode 17: The Forest Shadow
Episode 18: Tell your children not to walk my way
Bonus 01: Zither of Discord
Episode 19: Breaking the Curse

Chapter 3

Episode 20: The Heavenly Lily
Episode 21: The Magnificent Bastard
Episode 22: The Skies Above
Episode 23: Silver Phoenix
Episode 24: Gonna Fly Now
Episode 25: On Silver Wings
Episode 26: Golden Phoenix
Episode 27: WORDS
Episode 28: Creative Pursuits
Episode 29: Black Leopard School
Episode 30: Get Back In That Hole, Partner
Episode 31: Tale of the Mournful Blade
Episode 32: In which we finally reach the fortress
Episode 33: Team Lotus
Episode 34: Spirit Shard
Episode 35: The Grand Inquisitor

Chapter 4

Episode 36: The Imperial Palace

Chapter 5

Episode 37: Eternal Battle
Episode 38: Corruption

Chapter 6

Episode 39: The Second Righteous Siege
Episode 40: Released

Chapter 7

Episode 41: The Great Wheel


DMorbid fucked around with this message at 08:39 on Sep 20, 2017


Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.


Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Episode 00: Character Selection

MUSIC: Jade Empire Main Theme

Welcome to Jade Empire! As soon as we hit the title screen we're treated to Jack Wall's wonderful main theme and a scenic shot of the game's starting area, which do a great job establishing the feel of Jade Empire before we even press start. One slightly unfortunate issue here is that the game wasn't quite optimized for widescreen; as a result things like the menus and HUD elements are stretched horizontally. The actual gameplay looks fine, so it's not a huge deal.

The character creation is rather streamlined compared to KotOR. We don't get to customize our appearance or anything like that, instead we have a selection of seven predefined characters (six in the original Xbox version; Monk Zeng here was only in the limited edition as well as the Special Edition we're playing)

The streamlining is obvious from the stats screen as well. We only have three main attributes to raise: Body, Spirit, and Mind, affecting your health, chi and focus stats respectively. These main attributes are raised using skill points from levelups. There are also three conversation skills, each determined by two of the main stats: Charm (Body + Mind), Intimidate (Body + Spirit), and Intuition (Spirit + Mind). We can find various ways to boost our stats and conversation skills throughout the game, but it is all very simple.

As for Monk Zeng himself, he is a Magic type character and by default he starts off with a boost to his Spirit, making him ideal for using magic styles and boosting strikes with chi. You can click on the Custom option to allocate the points yourself if you want to, which is what I'm showing off in the screenshot. You can also select which fighting styles your character starts with, or just stick with the defaults. Before we do anything else, though, let's look at the different characters.

Wu the Lotus Blossom is a Balanced character, who as you might expect are decent at everything they do and have no advantages in any particular area. She's on the original box art and prominently features in promo materials, so she might be considered the "canon" main character of Jade Empire if you care about that kind of thing.

Furious Ming is a Fast character, which is also quite self-explanatory. He's not as strong as other classes, but makes up for it with speedy attacks and dodges. Fast characters get a boost to Focus, allowing them to use weapons for longer or spend more time in Focus mode (sort of a bullet time thing).

Tiger Shen is a Strong character. No prizes are awarded for guessing what his strengths and weaknesses are. He lumbers around and facetanks enemy attacks like no other. Literally no other, because he's the only Strong type character in Jade Empire. The other classes get both a male and female option.

Radiant Jen Zi is the female Fast character. She starts off with a slightly worse Body attribute than Furious Ming (possibly due to her lack of pants), but makes up for it with higher Spirit.

Scholar Ling was the only Magic type character in the original release of the game, here her counterpart is of course Monk Zeng. She's a bit less durable than Zeng, but her higher Mind allows for more Focus.

Lu the Prodigy is the second Balanced character and starts off with a higher Body attribute than Wu the Lotus Blossom. I'm sensing a bit of a trend here, not that it really matters because you can allocate the points however you please. Lu also has most boring design of them all, so nobody ever plays as him.

In this LP, we're playing as Wu the Lotus Blossom. I kept the default stats and fighting styles because those will do just fine for now. You can also change your character's name, either by typing in DONGS or BUTTS or whatever or trying your luck with the random name generator. We'll be going with the default.

Let's begin the game then, shall we?

DMorbid fucked around with this message at 17:17 on Mar 22, 2017

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Episode 01: Tale of Two Rivers

Jade Empire has no opening credits or epic cutscenes or anything like that to start things off. As soon as we've set up our character, we start off with a panning shot of what looks to be a martial arts academy of some type. This is the Two Rivers School, located in the town of Two Rivers in a remote part of the Jade Empire, and if we look closely we can see some of the students of the school practicing their moves.

Our main character, Wu the Lotus Blossom, is the top student of this school and we can see her sparring with another student in the center ring.

This is Jing Woo. We don't know much about him right now, but he seems to be friendly to us even though Wu is the superior fighter.

The dialog system is mostly the same as it was in Knights of the Old Republic. One detail that doesn't show up very well in screenshots is that Wu's facial expression actually changes depending on the tone of the currently highlighted dialog option, smiling when you're picking a friendly response and frowning when you're a dick. Jing Woo is a good guy, so we'll be nice to him.

I just realized that the bottom option here is pretty much just "You fight like a cow" from Monkey Island.

Happily! I feel that I learn something every time I face you, even if it's only a new place to nurse a bruise. So long as you're certain you have time?

I am rarely beaten, friend.

Let us begin.

MUSIC: Fist/Test Your Mettle

Jade Empire is a full-on action RPG with combat that is technically still turn-based with action queues like KotOR but has been tweaked to feel as close to real-time as possible. The fighting system is not particularly complex or difficult to master, but you do get a decent number of different fighting styles to choose from and there are some pretty cool ones in the game.

Button 1? Great. Jade Empire came out on PC before Xinput support really took off, so we're going to have to see which button does what. Button 1, or A, is our basic attack, and the tutorial is telling us to try it on Jing Woo here. Our starting style is Legendary Strike, which is your basic kung fu style with a lot of roundhouse kicks and that sort of thing.

The blue lightning aura around Wu denotes a strong attack, which is used by pressing X (or Button 3 in this case). I didn't actually mean to press it here and there's a separate tutorial for it, but might as well show it off anyway.

Focus mode (Y button) slows down time, which obviously can be very helpful in fights against tougher foes. As the popup helpfully informs us, Focus mode also drains your Focus (the yellow bar) constantly and quite fast as well, so you can't rely on it too much especially if you use other styles that consume Focus.

Once we've hit Jing Woo enough with our basic strikes, the game teaches us how to block (B button). As long as you hold block, you're protected from basic attacks.


Jing Woo eventually decides to clock us in the face with a strong attack, bypassing the block and dealing major damage. Chi healing can be used at any point as long as you have some blue bar left.

Now that we're all healed, we need to hit Jing Woo with a strong attack of our own.

The PC version's default input for evading attacks is a double-tap in any direction. It's incredibly awkward and doesn't seem to work half the time, but fortunately you don't have to deal with it. Switching to the alternate (block + direction) input makes Jade Empire's combat far more enjoyable.

We finish off the tutorial by beating the living hell out of Jing Woo, which appears to be a fairly common occurrence around here.

MUSIC: Hills and Fields - The Dance of the Babbling Brook

The master of the school was watching our little tutorial bout and seems to be satisfied with our progress.

I learn something every time we meet, proving that loss sometimes is the best teacher. Thank the heavens that the bruises are worth it.

Thank you for the bout.

You are gracious, as always. I regret that there won't be much time for such practice now that you have almost finished your training. Master Li told me to pass on that you should speak to him when you have the chance. He said you could take your time, so you need not rush.

Why didn't you tell me earlier?

He specifically told me that it was no rush, so I didn't think it would be vital. Besides, who could turn down a chance to practice with you? You have some time to wander the school and talk with other students. Smiling Mountain likely has some of the younger students available if you want to spar. I shall leave you to it. Take care, my friend.

As Jing Woo mentioned, we now have time to wander around and talk to the other students. The chufty fellow over there in the upper right corner is Smiling Mountain, and he can set up some practice fights for us if we feel like beating up more underclassmen. Right now, I think we'll just have a chat with a couple of the other students.

Restless dead? Pft, I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.

Do my senses detect a hint of sarcasm from Student Lin here? Well, yes, to be honest. It turns out some of our fellow students aren't quite as friendly with us as Jing Woo was earlier and there's some resentment over our status as the top student.

I understand your training is almost complete. I wonder who will replace you as our "example?" It certainly won't be me. I can't even imagine Master Li saying, "You must strive to be like Lin in all things," to the others. Just the opposite, more likely.

If you want Master Li to say it, don't give him a choice. Be the best you can.

That makes sense. Is that how you live your life? If so, it certainly seems to be an effective philosophy. Maybe I should spend more time training and less time worrying about where I stand in the school. How else will I be good enough to take you down one of these days? Besides, there might be bigger things to worry about. I find myself intrigued by the ghost tales that everyone's mentioning?

Huh, seems like there's a lot of talk about ghosts going around.

Other than what Dawn Star "senses," all I have is stories, but they're becoming more and more common. Tales of people being haunted by loved ones, and mad ghosts attacking people on the roads or even in their homes. And Master Li accepts Dawn Star's ability to see and sense things others can't. If he believes her, then how could I believe otherwise?

Where do these ghosts come from?

According to the stories, ghosts are usually people whose souls are trapped in this world either by circumstance or because they won't let go of their old lives. The thing is, those circumstances are very rare, and you never heard about ghosts ten years ago. Now everyone's talking about them. It's like something has happened, and people aren't leaving this world like they should be. Either that, or it's mass hysteria, but I can't believe that explanation.

Goodbye for now.

Stay well. After all, how could we learn without our most senior student to guide us.

Lovely, thanks. Lin mentioned someone called Dawn Star who can apparently sense ghosts or something to that effect. That's a party member name if I ever heard one. Dawn Star is actually supposed to be a longtime friend of ours, and we'll see more of her soon enough.

Right. Let's go see Master Li, we've wasted enough time screwing around here.

Gao seems to have been visiting the master and doesn't sound too happy about their discussion. Let's have a chat with him, I'm sure he will be very friendly to us since we're Master Li's favorite student and all that.

If I'd known it was holding up your training, I would have come sooner.

Really? You would have dropped everything to make way for me? I don't think so. You're far too important to waste time worrying about my education. Master Li certainly considers your training important enough to shove all others aside, so why shouldn't *I* bow down to your greatness?

Such a personable fellow! Gao is voiced by Nathan Fillion, who does an excellent job playing this arrogant jackass.

I really should have picked the lower option. Oh well.

I'm sure Wen could stammer out an answer for you, something to make you feel all warm inside and just great about yourself. Master Li wants to talk to you. Do me a favor, and go talk to him. Then maybe I can actually receive some education at this school.

What a cheerful person. Now that he mentions it, I think I do actually have some other business to attend to first. Master Li can wait a bit longer, he did say there's no rush after all.

First off, we have some reading material to check out. These scrollstands give us a bit of EXP, and we can also earn some useful stat boosts if we do enough reading so it's always in our best interest to look around for scrollstands and books.

This particular scroll has a bit of Jade Empire lore for us.

The box next to the scrollstand contains a scroll on martial styles.

Iron Palm and Viper are the two new styles introduced in the Special Edition. To master them, we need to find three scrolls of each. They're technically not mutually exclusive, I believe, but one of the Viper scrolls is a reward for doing some pretty evil poo poo and I'm playing this as a good guy. (edit: they are in fact mutually exclusive, as the same quest that gives you the Viper scroll gives you an Iron Palm scroll instead if you're not an rear end in a top hat)

Actually, that's something that should be explained in a bit more detail. Like most BioWare games released after KotOR, Jade Empire has a morality system with two paths: Way of the Open Palm and Way of the Closed Fist. It wasn't necessarily supposed to be a simple good vs. evil system like the one in KotOR, but in practice that is what it ended up becoming anyway. Closed Fist was meant to be more of a "strength is power and the poors should pull themselves up by the bootstraps instead of asking me for help" path, but some of the things you do as a Closed Fist character are just ridiculously evil.

In any event, we've got a couple more books to look at:

Harmonic Combos are a gameplay mechanic I've never really used all that much on any of my Jade Empire playthroughs. It can be very useful and I will be showing it off as best I can, but it's not something that is absolutely required by any means.

Might as well talk to some more students while we're here. The guy in the red headband is Wen, who Gao told us may be willing to tell us just how great we are.

Sometimes I wonder if I am ready to train with others of such skill, even in the robes of a junior student. I feel a long way from my home in the Imperial City.

If you are here, you belong here.

You're right. Master Li would not have accepted me if he did not see potential. He measures all people carefully. I will just have to work twice as hard to catch up to your level of skill. Even then it will take a long time to be your match. How long have you studied with Master Li?

That doesn't really answer the question, you know.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't pester you with my questions. Is there something you need?

Since you're new, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on Master Li.

He is one man and guides his students well. My last school had two masters who feuded all the time. It made learning very difficult.

Wu is clearly not impressed. Or she was blinking as I took the screenshot. Pick one.

I'd demonstrate, but I don't think I even could. Master Li's teachings have been so much more effective that I have forgotten most of what I learned in the capital.

How do Master Li's skills measure up to your teachers in the Imperial City?

He is greatly skilled and tutors his students intently. You especially. My school in the city was mired in politics. Not an environment that promotes diligent study.

All right, that's enough of that.

Tho Fan is the fake language BioWare created for Jade Empire, and basically sounds like three phrases repeated over and over like the alien languages in KotOR. There aren't that many Tho Fan speakers in the game anyway, so I'm not sure why they bothered. Well, it's a nice bit of worldbuilding, I suppose.

Right, that's definitely enough messing around, let's finally go and see Master Li. Gao certainly looks like he's waited long enough.

MUSIC: The Way of the Open Palm

You are my best pupil, though you came to me an orphan. I have tried to prepare you for the responsibility your skills will bring. Have you given thought to your future?

Here's a better look at how the player character's expression changes depending on the dialog option. It sometimes looks a bit silly due to the low-poly faces, but the idea was neat and nowadays BioWare does a similar thing with their dialog wheel icons.

I recall that, as a child, you fell and bruised your arm. I comforted you, saying that small pains are part of learning. But not every setback imparts wisdom. You must be careful. Sometimes all you learn in defeat, is that you have been defeated. This world is out of balance. Spirits grow restless, and you have a role to play that I have kept secret.

Unimpressed Wu is the best (and so is my timing with screenshots).

The people are scared... I do not have all the answers, but I know you will become very important to the fates of many. You will be called to face a great evil.

What is this interruption? This had better be important... there is much to say.

Where is she now?

Still outside the village by the outlook. Ni Joh couldn't carry her. Please come, Master Li. The bandits are not at the village yet, but they could arrive at any time!

What would you have me do, Master?

The time for practice is over. Go to Gujin the weapon master and get a weapon. You may soon be called to use it. On your way, make certain Dawn Star is aware of the danger. Her skills have always complemented yours, so take her with you. Prepare yourself for a potential attack while I tend to my fallen student. I will return as soon as I can. We will continue our discussion when the threat is over.

I will do as you ask.

Good. The time comes when you will know all you need to. For now, keep the basics at heart.

Master Li walks off to help out Kia Min, and before we go anywhere we can explore his place a bit.

We find these figurines next to a statue of a lion, and if we interact with it we can place the figurines on the altar while matching the color of the orb in the statue's hand. That seems like an insultingly simple "puzzle" even by BioWare standards, so let's just hold onto these things for now and see if there's anything else we can do with them.

Next time, we will go find Dawn Star and see if we can beat up some bandits. See you then.

DMorbid fucked around with this message at 19:25 on Mar 7, 2017

Jul 17, 2013
I loved this game when I was younger, though I never got very far - pity the steam port is (by most accounts) horribly broken, or I'd buy it to play again now I'm not so awful at video games.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

I'm actually playing the Steam version here. It should work pretty well once you manage to get it to launch without the "Can't find Steam" error message (which involves copying the steam.dll file from your Steam folder to the Jade Empire folder, after that it should be fine). The PC version in general has always been a bit wonky, I also have the physical DVD release where the autoplay is broken and you need to actually go click on the installer.exe. Oh, and the spine on the steelbook case reads "Jade Emipre". :v:

Jan 10, 2012

Call Gespenst!
Fun fact: Jade Empire is actually turn based. Technically, at least.

tl;dr the games engine is basically an evolution of the one that Bioware used for KotoR, and despite being significantly tweaked to appear as if combat is real-time, the action queue-based combat from that game is still there in Jade Empire. This is why the games controls may sometimes appear to be clunky or laggy, especially if you've got a tendency to buttonmash.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.


Welp, time to edit those earlier posts a bit. I could always tell that Jade Empire ran on pretty much the same engine as KotOR, but assumed the combat was actually real-time. I've noticed some weirdness at times, especially when fighting enemies with polearms, but I always just thought I was doing something wrong. :downs:

fuck off Batman
Oct 14, 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!

I thought that this game was pretty cool when it came out. Too bad they never made a sequel in this setting. Fantasy China is a welcome respite from fantasy Europe.

Jul 17, 2013

Doc Morbid posted:

I'm actually playing the Steam version here. It should work pretty well once you manage to get it to launch without the "Can't find Steam" error message (which involves copying the steam.dll file from your Steam folder to the Jade Empire folder, after that it should be fine). The PC version in general has always been a bit wonky, I also have the physical DVD release where the autoplay is broken and you need to actually go click on the installer.exe. Oh, and the spine on the steelbook case reads "Jade Emipre". :v:

I'm always kinda nervous about trying out fixes like that, because I don't trust myself not to gently caress up everything somehow, but maybe if it's on sale at some point I'll pick it up and see if I can convince it to work, because I always thought this was a solid little game with a neat story and some fun world building.

And one incredibly hammy line of voice acting in a side quest that my brother and I quote at each other to this day despite the fact that it is probably not nearly as funny as we found it at the time.

Dec 21, 2012


I can't understand these kinds of games, and not getting it bugs me almost as much as me being weird
Hey I loved this game, played through to almost the end where I discovered is messed up the romance quest. Been meaning to play again sometime, just because there's so little Wuxia gaming out there.
Thanks for LPing this!

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Episode 02: Ghosts at the Beach

Last time, we found out bandits are about to attack Two Rivers and were told to go get a weapon from Weapon Master Gujin in order to fight off those ruffians. Master Li also told us to take Dawn Star with us, so let's go to her house and talk to her.

I still think Jade Empire is a pretty nice-looking game, at least when it comes to the environments and art design. The character models were never that great, although they were still a step up from KotOR.

Dawn Star's house is right across this small bridge here. I'm not entirely sure where we (or the other students for that matter) live because the only actual buildings inside the school gates are Master Li's home and Dawn Star's place. Maybe everyone has houses in the town proper? This is probably the kind of thing you shouldn't think about too much.

(edit: Smiling Mountain's little practice area is surrounded by a few small houses, so I guess those might serve as dormitories)

Wait a minute. Is that...

oh goddammit Gao

His name is Gao the Greater, and he built a fortune out of some ragged thieves and slave traders. If my charm can't lift your spirit, I'll buy the ground from under you.

Flaunting your father's undeserved wealth does not impress me, Gao. It only serves to push me further away.

You step beyond your station. She and I are discussing her future.

Thank you, Gao, but I'll pick my own poison. Now leave, and, if you'd be so kind, stay downwind.

I won't forget this, Dawn Star. You show great disrespect. You, as well. You will not take all the glory if there is an attack. We are not through.

Well, I suppose I'd be angry all the time as well if my name had "the Lesser" attached to it.

MUSIC: Dawn Star Theme

He acts like he is above Master Li's teachings. Such are the conceits of wealth, I suppose. I appreciate that you arrived when you did.

What did Gao want?

What does Gao the Lesser ever want? He is convinced he can buy everything, and that includes people. He is a spoiled little man. I'd rather not dwell on him. Let's not increase his influence by talking about him after he's gone. What is it you wish?

You know about the bandits. Master Li said to get a weapon from Gujin.

Yes, he said you were coming. He just passed here with Si Pat, on his way to help Kia Min. It's strange that simple bandits would launch such a raid. Master Li was concerned that this would interrupt your training. His respect for your potential is just so... absolute. Has he told you any more about your future?

He did say we'd be facing a great evil and that we have a role he has kept secret, but I think the bandits are the bigger concern at the moment.

You're right. As useful as it was to help Master Li learn about the restlessness of the dead, thanks to my "gift," I see enough disturbing things as it is. If we can stop the bandits quickly, we can keep everyone safe. Let's go get your weapon from Gujin's workshop. It shouldn't be too hard to fend off simple bandits. They are foolish to attempt such an attack.

Let's go together. I could use the company.

Of course. Good company will make the walk go faster.

And with that, Dawn Star joins us as a follower. As I mentioned in the OP, you can only have one party member following you at all times, and as the game is pointing out here we can set each follower's tactics to Attack or Support. I tend to keep them on support duty a lot of the time, because they're not always the most efficient in combat. Dawn Star's support ability restores your chi during fights and does it pretty quickly as well, which is incredibly useful in longer combat segments. Of course, I keep her on Attack for this update and make things way harder for myself than they should be.

Hold on, we've got another scroll to read.

The Great Wheel. The cycle of life, death and reincarnation where a person's spirit is eternal and unchanging. Since Dawn Star's "gift" has to do with the spirit world, it's rather appropriate that this particular bit of lore can be found at her home.

Next to Dawn Star's house, we can also find these:

The Spirit Font fully restores your health and chi, while the Focus Shrine does the same to, well, focus. These are scattered around the game world, usually before boss fights and other tough sections, and can be used as many times as you need.

Now that we have Dawn Star with us, we can head to the town proper and visit Gujin's workshop to get our weapon.

Unfortunately, trouble is brewing on the other side of the gate as some of the bandits have made their way to town and are now bothering the peasants.

You're right, this isn't worth it.

Poor guy had no chance.

The bandits don't fare all that much better.

I can't believe they moved so quickly. We need your weapon. Gujin will be in his shop north of the main stairs.

Here we are. We talked to the bystanders after the fight, but all they said was basically "Heavens no, they killed him!"

This gentleman is Gujin the weapon master himself. Gujin speaks Tho Fan, which is of course subtitled for our convenience (and because the characters understand it).

Oh, there's no need for titles. Not from you two.

Why do you insist on speaking like that, Gujin?

The Old Tongue, you mean? Anyone with half an education understands Tho Fan, and some of us prefer the way it rolls of the tongue. Don't act like it's a surprise. Lots of people speak it, although I suppose it is concentrated mostly in the Prosperous East. [switches to English] If you'd prefer, I don't need to use Tho Fan. Now, what brings you here?

Already? I assume you dealt with them, and the rest are in for quite a surprise when they get here. Well, no time to waste.

Yeah, those two bandits didn't last very long, did they? To be fair, most of the folks we'll be fighting will be much tougher.

I don't remember if it's ever really mentioned, but Dawn Star's sword is called Gujin's Favor. Party members' weapons are a bit special in that they can damage enemies that weapon styles don't normally work on. Obviously this is because only the main character can switch between different styles and the followers only have one, and it would be dumb if they couldn't damage certain foes at all, but that also leads to this rather silly situation where everyone else seems to have better weapons than the protagonist (although ours will do more damage in general). But I'm getting ahead of myself here, let's actually get that weapon first.

Well, two actually, but you need to chose which one you'll take. Master Li wants you to stay focused on your first weapon.

Is there anything special about these weapons?

Anything? *Everything.* I don't know where your master acquired these, but he has honored me with the care of two legendary weapons. You may arm yourself with either the legendary long sword, Fortune's Favorite, or the famed long staff, Golden Star.

Tell me about the long sword, Fortune's Favorite.

I know perfectly well which one I'm choosing, but let's just have Gujin tell us about both of the weapons for posterity's sake.

How your master found it, I cannot say, but this ancient long sword is yours if you wish it.

Let me hear about the staff, Golden Star.

They say Golden Star was forged as a gift to a water spirit of the Silkworm River. A young noble convinced the Great Eastern Serpent to fly him to the stars, where he dipped this staff in the tail of a comet. It could be pure fantasy, but this staff certainly isn't. It's strong and has an excellent reach. Your foes will tremble when they see you wielding it.

I used the staff on my first playthrough and never really liked it all that much, it always felt kinda slow and cumbersome to wield. Which means that we'll be taking the sword.

If you decide you truly don't like it, however, you can come see me after the bandits are dealt with.

Is there anything else?

One more thing you need to know. These weapons strike with deadly precision, but to wield them safely you must focus with each strike. Master Li has been training you so that you'd be ready for this kind of weapon, and the drain won't be crippling, but you will get tired over time.

I should go see the townsfolk now.

That you should. These people will be looking for you for leadership until Master Li gets back. I know you'll do well.

As we finish the conversation, Student Si Pat runs in again.

Calm down, student. What has you so flustered?

The bandits! They've already been sighted by the beach, and they're making their way toward the town!

Does Master Li know they're already here?

Master Li hasn't returned yet with Kia Min. I'm sure he will be back before long, but we must depend on you until he returns.

I doubt asking Si Pat to come help us out with the bandits would be of much use because he's not exactly a great warrior, so let's just send him back to the school to warn the others. He'll probably go there no matter what you pick here.

Make your way to the beach and teach these bandits a lesson! I know you can.

You've done well, lad. Go back to the school now. Your friends have some new weapons they're dying to try out, I'm sure.

All right. Weapons are separate fighting styles that you can switch to at any time by quick-selecting it on the d-pad, and as Gujin said we can't use them indefinitely due to the focus drain. Eventually we'll be able to use weapons for quite some time as we gain levels and put some points to Focus cost reduction, but for now we shouldn't be relying on our sword too much.

Before we go anywhere, there's one more scroll we need to take a look at.

Nothing particularly exciting in this one, but there's a reason why we wanted to read it.

It completes a book set, which gives us a permanent stat boost.

As we make our way towards the beach, some more bandits show up to pester us and get cut down immediately. One of them drops a yellow orb, which you can collect to restore some focus. There are also red and blue orbs that restore health and chi.

Closer to the beach, we run into these guys. This is kind of supposed to be a tutorial for area attacks (A + X) but I completely fail to notice the tutorial popup. AoE attacks are pretty good for crowd control, as you might expect. They don't do much damage, but enemies get knocked around and you get some breathing room.

This jerk with the beard has a polearm, which are incredibly annoying when wielded by enemies due to the range and the poking attack they just love to use. The pokes seem to go through our attacks, so we're kinda getting roughed up here.

Will you stop poking me with that stick so I can kill you. At least we've got some chi left for healing, albeit not for long.

Well, EVENTUALLY we manage to take down all these idiots, and it only took all our chi and most of our focus. Dawn Star also got knocked out at some point, so this went all kinds of well. Jade Empire is not a difficult game, but this tutorial section can be tough if you're just starting out or haven't played in a long time. You don't have much health, chi or focus to play with, and some of these enemies can mess you up in seconds. The game gets much easier pretty soon.

All right, let's get going to the beach then.

Oh hey, autosave. Jade Empire doesn't autosave all that frequently, so when it does you can generally assume some poo poo is about to go down. And when poo poo goes down, I have video of it.

VIDEO: You should probably watch this

Si Pat mentioned earlier that the bandits on the boat fired something at Kia Min. I hope it wasn't a cannonball, and if it was I hope she fared better than these poor sods.

The bandits attack us, of course, and the bald weirdo on the boat keeps firing cannonballs at us. The only warning we get is Dawn Star going "look out" about a second before we get blown up. Fortunately, one hit won't kill us, and the cannonballs don't discriminate between us and the bandits.

Once we're done with the guys on the beach, another wave of bandits shows up and this time they're a bit tougher.


Getting hit by a cannonball won't kill us, but we do get lit on fire which causes damage over time. We don't really need that with our chi being low enough as it is. This fight can be really tough for a new player, I died here multiple times on my first playthrough back in the day.

Here's the bandit leader, who fights with Wolverine claws. That is actually a style we can pick at the start, called Leaping Tiger. Magic type characters start with it and we can learn it later on. It's pretty good at higher levels. If this is the bandit leader, though, who is Mr. Cannonball-Head on the boat?


On the plus side, the cannonball also hit the bandit leader and he was easy to take out after that, and at this point it's just a matter of helping Dawn Star take down the last bandit.

By "this" he obviously means Bink video compression from ten years ago. Truly the most terrifying of foes. :gonk:

Or he may be summoning vengeful ghosts, at least one of whom is using ice magic.

Spirits aren't affected by man-made weapons, so our sword is useless here. Not that we have the focus to use it anyway. Dawn Star's sword can hurt these guys, though, but it doesn't do much damage to them (or in general).

We have two ghosts with ice magic and one wielding a polearm, neither of which is very nice. These ghosts don't have much health, though, and are arguably easier to take down than the bandits earlier.

Like so. The sorcerer on the boat is not pleased and decides to teleport himself to us.

Before he can do anything, we are interrupted by another heavily compressed FMV.

Master Li is obviously done with Kia Min, and is now racing towards the town at inhuman speed.


Assassin? And it seems like he was looking for Master Li as well.

Before the assassin gets another word in, Master Li attacks him and starts giving him a proper beatdown. The assassin, while clearly powerful and even able to command spirits, has no chance against a true master.


Whoever this assassin was working for, he's not going to report back to them.

Dawn Star can explain the nature of such creatures. I must go and make sure everything is in place. I thought I had more time, but perhaps you are ready.

Do not be so quick to thank me. My influence caused this attack. You were not meant to see this yet, but now there is no choice. I will explain at the school.


Next time, we will learn the truth about many things, including the role Master Li has planned for us.

DMorbid fucked around with this message at 02:16 on Jun 20, 2017

Jun 4, 2011

I'm 😤 not a 🦸🏻‍♂️hero...🧜🏻

You know, it's interesting to look over and remember how fighting was done in games during the pre-Batman, pre-Dark Souls era. And sad. That, too.

Aug 1, 2014
Soiled Meat
You can just tell this game was released in 2005 at a glance because of all the bloom, haha.

Ah, Jade Empire. What a weird, transitory title for Bioware; I feel like at the time they'd really been wanting to make a straight ARPG (and debatably still do), but couldn't quite stick the landing. Then they made Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Jade Empire is definitely their most original title, and it's a shame they haven't revisited it.

7c Nickel
Apr 27, 2008
Hey. You might need this mod. For... reasons.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

7c Nickel posted:

Hey. You might need this mod. For... reasons.
I wasn't really planning on doing any romancing on this playthrough, unless of course the thread wants to see it.

But yeah, the fade to black in those scenes is really dumb and pointless. I don't know why they would even do that, BioWare doesn't seem like they'd go "we can't have gay kisses in our video game, censor this filth!"

Oct 20, 2012
I wish this game got a sequel or something; I like the game's Fantasy China aesthetic, even though I've lost interest a while into my GOG copy of the game.

Mar 17, 2009

Kid's blasting everything in sight with that new-fangled musket.

This is a cool game, I have the fancy-pants Jade Emipre (sic) Special Edition complete with typo and metal case.

Good luck making it past the second area, pretty sure every previous attempt has run out of steam there if not before! It's always been top of my list of games I'd LP if I ever had the time, so I'm interested to see how you go. Could be a smart move using screenshots, I think all the others have been VLPs.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

I briefly considered a VLP, but there's just so much talking in this game that it would have been the most boring thing in the world to watch (and that's before you take my commentary into account :v:). An SSLP with videos of important action scenes seemed like the way to go.

I have wanted to LP Jade Empire pretty much since I joined the forums (maybe even before that), but never got around to it until now.

Jan 28, 2009

Doc Morbid posted:

I wasn't really planning on doing any romancing on this playthrough, unless of course the thread wants to see it.

But yeah, the fade to black in those scenes is really dumb and pointless. I don't know why they would even do that, BioWare doesn't seem like they'd go "we can't have gay kisses in our video game, censor this filth!"

I think it's more concern with the publishers. They had to cut the intended gay romance in KOTOR to the bone (the cat lady was supposed to be romanceable, I believe, and there's still some backstory stuff that hints that way), and then after this there was the absurd to-do regarding the lesbian sex scene in Mass Effect, which led to everyone having sex fully-clothed in ME2 and DA2, and they only just got over it in time for DA:!, mostly, I think, because CD Projekt RED had made an RPG with boobs in it and the world didn't end.

Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.
Oh poo poo ground floor hell yes!

I hope you do a Maximum Treason run. Betray everyone and be betrayed by everyone. This is totally the canon story of the game and you can't convince me otherwise.

Doc Morbid posted:

I'm playing this as a good guy.

:smith: I will completely agree that some closed fist stuff is just beyond evil but Maximum Treason is just so fun hilarious and I think you can still make the right closed fist options to achieve it while still being mostly open palm? (I don't think this game morality gates you like Mass Effect 2 but I could be wrong.)

Regardless, I might be being too spoilery even with this level of vagueness so I'll stop and just enjoy the story you tell us.

(But seriously, the revolving door of betrayals playthrough of this game is just hilarious and brought tears to my eyes. The fact that companions will call you out on it is just so great.)

Jenner fucked around with this message at 00:46 on Nov 24, 2016

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

I'm one of those weirdos who can't bring themselves to play as a total rear end in a top hat in RPGs, so closed fist stuff will be kept to a minimum unlike in every other Jade Empire LP in existence. I will definitely be pointing out just how much of a dick you can be when we get to those parts of the game.

Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.

Clapping Larry
Raiding the hell out of random towns looking for one specific dude.

That's got to be a lonely life.

Dec 10, 2007

Extremely grim and evil.
Dude seems to enjoy his work, though.

Mar 22, 2013

Goblin babies did nothing wrong.

Oh man I love Jade Empire. In terms of writing it's one of my favorite games of all time.

The problem with Closed Fist is that despite the philosophy that gets spouted at you in terms of gameplay decisions it's pretty much "Cartoonish Evil or Good Guy." The lore just isn't reflected in the gameplay.

Also add me to the list of people who found out JE is turnbased. Didn't really notice because my strategy was just jumping around non-stop.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Episode 03: Exposition Dump, Part One

Last time, we stopped a bandit attack on Two Rivers and faced our first spirit opponents, summoned by a mysterious assassin looking for Master Li. Master Li has told us we're ready to hear about the role we are meant to play, so we'll be heading his way soon enough.

First things first. The ruckus at the beach gave us enough EXP to level up, so let's take a look at what we can do here.

I do like it when the game does my work for me.

We put one point to Body and two to Mind, which gives us a bit of that extra focus we want for more fun times with weapons. At this stage, Fortune's Favorite drains focus at an immense rate and we want to fix that as soon as we can.

Here's the style menu. We've got ten points to put into our styles, and right now we'll focus on our martial and weapon styles. Heavenly Wave is a support style that slows down enemies, but I've never found it all that useful compared to some of the other support styles.

We'll prioritize focus cost reduction for now. A bit of extra damage and speed won't hurt so we put one point into each, but we really want to maximize the use of our weapon style as soon as we can. Of course, the higher the rank the more skill points it costs to purchase.

As far as Legendary Strike goes, we'll put a couple of points into damage and one into each of the other categories. We haven't used chi strikes yet, but might as well power those up a bit already.

That'll do it. Master Li mentioned that Dawn Star can explain the nature of the spirits we fought earlier, so let's have a quick chat with her before we go back.

This is so confusing. Master Li said I could explain the nature of spirits, but... these were different. That sorcerer forced them to appear, like wild dogs let loose. So many spirits seem lost, asi if the way to their rest is blocked. I didn't think they were dangerous, but those on the beach... I sensed madness. Time drove them mad. You disrupted them by defeating them in combat. They will not reform in a long time. I hope there is peace in that, but I don't know. So much is worrying me.

Punch the ghosts hard enough and they'll go away for a while. Simple enough.

I was worried enough when we were expecting bandits, now it seems there are dangers we don't even know about. Master Li called that... that sorcerer an *assassin.* Assassins don't attack at random. They have very specific prey. I don't... I don't want anything to happen to this home. I've never belonged to anywhere else.

I really should have asked Dawn Star about her name here. I assumed I could still pick that option once we're done talking about where she used to live, but it doesn't appear again after this. She mentions that there apparently was a red glow on the horizon the morning she was born, and that's what she was named after. This may or may not be relevant later.

Would it be strange of me to say I don't know? I have very little memory of my home before coming here, even though I was three years old when I arrived. I remember moving around a lot... never staying anywhere for long... and for some reason, the robes of that sorcerer looked familiar to me. I don't know why. I'm sure it's nothing. Just the memories of childhood playing tricks. With glimpses of the spirit realm invading my thoughts. I could have seen them anywhere.

Why did you move around? How did you come here?

I can't remember specific incidents, but I am used to being shunned. People are not very welcoming of those who appear to not let the dead lay peacefully.

That would explain why she seems to spend so much of her time isolated from the other students. If you talk to them at the school, they may mention that Dawn Star tends to keep to herself.

Master Li doesn't know who that guardian was, or what I needed protection from. He promised to look into it, but he has not had time. Your training has taken precedence. My abilities are just a curiosity. You are the center of attention here. I prefer it this way. I can just... be.

Honestly, at this point it feels like Dawn Star's abilities are a lot more special than ours. She has a connection to the spirit world whereas we just seem to be really good at kicking people in the head. Of course, we don't yet know what Master Li has to say about our special role.

Yes. I suppose you know something about that, as well. I hope this does not sound odd, but I am glad we share that. Thanks for this talk. The events on the beach worried me, but you always improve my mood. Let's get back to what you need to do.

How did you help Master Li find out about the restless dead?

I don't want to think about it too much. Manipulating chi has not come as naturally to me as it has to you. The things I do are... different. I can see spirit shapes and hear the odd whisper. Master Li was surprised, but he has not had time to look into it further. Your training is his primary interest. Hopefully, I'll find my skills useful for more than just keeping me up at night. Could we go on to something else?

What do you know about the spirit world?

We are all spiritual creatures. When we die, our spirits are released to find their way to the underworld. The journey eases the transition from life to death. If their time among the living was troubled or painful, spirits sometimes get lost. They can seem almost alive and are often mistaken for living creatures. They usually only appear for a short time. They say what they need to say and then are drawn to the underworld.

What makes them so threatening?

If a person's life was very traumatic, his or her spirit can lose its way for a long time. They can go mad trapped in the world of the living. Maddened spirits change. They lose their connection to the living world and begin to channel darker emotions. They can be very dangerous. I've only seen hints of those. It's been enough. I'm very worried about what may be coming.

What happens to them in the underworld?

I don't know. That's the kind of thing old men sit on mountains to discover. Some say it's a place of judgment. Maybe it's about reincarnation. You'd think we could just ask the spirits themselves, but if we can't really understand our own answers, how can we hope to fathom theirs?

All right, that's enough of that for now. Hope you enjoyed the info dump on ghosts.

Here's the journal. Nothing fancy about it, just showing it off for posterity.

We see an old man over there tending to a statue of Emperor Sun Hai, but we'll leave him to it for now and have a chat with him later. There are some other people on the beach we can talk to, the guy in white is Ni Joh who was mentioned by the farmer in town and somehow seems to have survived a cannon ball blast without a scratch. I mean, we did too, but we're the protagonist so that doesn't count and everyone next to Ni Joh blew up into a pile of gibs.

"Alive and useless, just like you" is accurate but a bit harsh, so let's not go there.

When we earn Open Palm points, a glowy blue halo appears over our character's head. Obviously, getting Closed Fist points is represented by a red glowy thing. I pick Closed Fist options so rarely that I forget what it is, but I do know that your shadow grows tentacles if you have enough Closed Fist points. That's kind of neat.

As we start heading back towards the town, we bump into this lady who says she's looking for Dawn Star. Doesn't seem to be looking very hard, considering Dawn Star is right behind us, but never mind that.

I'm glad, Mrs. Jong.

Having said what she needed to, Mrs. Jong walks off and Dawn Star explains what the deal was.

Some spirits return because of trauma, to rectify something that disturbed them in life or death. They are very focused. When the pain is gone, they find rest. At least, they are supposed to. Jin's spirit told his mother the accident wasn't her fault. Now he wanders, unconnected to this world and unable to pass to the next. Troubled spirits can be set to rest for a time, but unless the greater problem is corrected, it seems all dead are destined to wander until they go mad. I'm sorry. This has been difficult. I don't want to think about how it affects... specific people. I'm still not sure I should have told Mrs. Jong about her child.

I don't think the issue was with Mrs. Jong not wanting to hear it, she just didn't understand how Dawn Star's abilities work and then apologized when she realized her mistake. You can't really blame Mrs. Jong for not understanding, either, because the spirit world is weird and creepy, but Dawn Star was trying to do a good thing and it just didn't quite work out.

I guess blame is easier to understand than chance. Come on, we should go see if the students are all right. Master Li will be waiting.

Before we go anywhere, let's help ourselves to the bandits' loot which amounts to 122 silver. Not exactly a pile or riches, but it's something at least. We can talk to some of the peasants around town, but all they say is basically "I'm glad Master Li is here and his senior student is such a badass".

In the southern part of town, we run into these fine gentlemen.

It wouldn't be a BioWare game if we didn't get harassed by a bunch of drunk idiots at some point (well, actually I don't remember if that happens in any of their games aside from Jade Empire and KotOR).

Unfortunately, these inebriated fellows are actually Gao's goons and can't be talked down unlike the guys you run into on Taris early on in KotOR, so we're fighting.

It's just as well, I didn't show off the Heavenly Wave support style yet so this gives us a good opportunity to do so.

Heavenly Wave, as the popup over this guy's head suggests and I mentioned while leveling up, slows enemies down. Unfortunately, low-level Heavenly Wave is itself so ungodly slow to use that it's far more efficient to just use your martial or weapon style in most cases. There are some boss fights where it can be useful, but I find other support styles to be much more effective. Support styles also don't work on certain enemy types, although I can never quite keep track of which enemy resists what unless I try different styles on everything.

After we dispatch these jerks, I do what I should have done a lot earlier and switch Dawn Star to support mode.

Her longsword just does so little damage that it's not worth using her in battle, especially since she doesn't seem to have all that much health. Active chi recovery is far, far more useful and Dawn Star's one of the better support characters as a result.

Student Si Pat has been assigned to guard the school gate, which seems like the kind of job that should perhaps be left to someone who can actually fight. We can harass him by testing his knowledge on the different styles (Martial, Weapon, Support, Transformation, and Magic) as well as how chi works, but we'll look into that stuff when it's relevant. There's enough talking in this update as it is. :words:

Before we head back to the school's courtyard, let's check this side path to the north. There are monkeys :3:

I like this little area the path leads to, it looks really nice with the waterfall and leaves falling from the trees.

More importantly, there is this tomb we can interact with.

[A small bowl sits beneath the stylized image of a lion, ready to accept offerings of silver to speed the spirit of the departed to his rest.]

[The coin disappears through a thin slot in the bottom of the bowl. There is an audible clicking sound.]

We did see a statue of a lion earlier, so we might want to give that another look in a little bit.

First of all, though, Kia Min is back and we can chat with her, so let's ask her how she's doing after that injury she received in the bandit attack.

It is good that you are here. My foolish lack of attention forced Master Li to come to my rescue and left me with a wound that will take a few weeks to heal. Master Li assures me I will heal in time. It's a shame, as Smiling Mountain was teasing me just yesterday with some "special prize."

My sidequest sense is tingling.

He teased me by saying if I could go one higher, he might have a prize for me. I suppose he might make the same offer to you, if you're up to it. If I could fight, he could likely round up enough opponents for you to make a run at a new record, but I can't face anyone with this wound.

Is there anything I can do to help with your wound?

Unless you can speed up time, I'm not sure there's much that can be done. Master Li has already tended to it. Then again, I vaguely recall a grass or herb that hastens the healing process. Someone like Old Ming might know for sure, he's quite interested in herbs.

Remember the old guy at the beach who we ignored earlier? That's who we're gonna go talk to now. We can ask Kia Min more questions about the herb and Old Ming, but she doesn't have anything useful so let's just get this show on the road. She does say that she'll reimburse us if we have to buy anything, so that's nice. The important thing for her is to be able to fight again as soon as possble.

Also, remember how Master Li ran to the beach inhumanly fast? We can do that too by activating focus mode outside of combat.

We manage to actually run past this villager, who seems to be in a bit of a pickle. Of course, we'll ask if we can help in any way.

Oh, you're one of Master Li's students, right? Yes, I've heard about you. Quite skilled, they say. Well, don't mind me.

Why are you nervous? Anything I can do to help?

Oh, I wouldn't think to presume. The town doesn't owe me anything, and neither do the students of your fine school. I'm not from Two Rivers, though I do occasionally come into town to do some business. Today has not been an overly good day for me. I was hoping to make a little more silver than I did selling my wares.

Why do you need money badly?

I owe a small amount of silver to a man who works for a... gentleman named Gao the Greater. He's quite insistent that I pay, but I'm falling a bit short. It is no more than the price of a small pig, but Gao the Greater takes his debts very seriously.

What will happen if you don't pay the twenty silver?

Gao the Greater is not known for his generosity. I.... No, I'll figure a way out of this myself.

Yeah, I think we may be able to spare twenty silver to help this guy out. We don't need Gao the Greater's thugs breaking this poor bastard's legs, even if he kinda brought this on himself by borrowing money from Gao's associates in the first place.

That seems close to begging, and the spirits of my ancestors would be shamed if they thought I was doing that.

Ah. I see he needs some convincing. This is our introduction to the three types of persuasion checks in Jade Empire, instead of just a singular Persuade option we can use Charm, Intimidation or Intuition. Your skill in these depends on your attributes, which I went over in the introductory update but just in case you didn't read it: Charm = Body + Mind, Intimidate = Body + Spirit, Intuition = Spirit + Mind. Most persuasion checks in the game aren't particularly hard, and if you're playing a character with fairly balanced stats you should be able to hit them pretty consistently.


I'll take just enough to pay back what I owe. Many, many thanks!

That will make his life a lot easier. Gao's father is not a good man to have angry at you, from what I hear.

Farewell, student! I'm off to deal with my debt so I can get back to my farm in peace!

We heard Dawn Star approve of us helping the guy out. As is the norm with BioWare games, your companions will chime in with approving or disapproving comments based on your actions. Dawn Star is maybe the most compassionate of your followers, so she likes it when you do nice things and help people. But with that sorted out, let's finally do what we came here to do and talk to Old Ming about that herb.

One of the students was wounded during the bandit attack.

Oh, yes. I heard about that. Some fool girl out walking on the overlook, wasn't it? Serves her right for not studying or meditating, I say! Well, there's no accounting for youth. She probably wants something to get her moving again, so I'd say you need a poultice made from red silk grass clippings. Merchant Fen Do should have some, but don't let him talk you into clippings of bearded tongue grass. That won't do at all.

What's the difference between the two grasses?

Aside from "bearded tongue grass" sounding really gross, that is.

Bearded tongue grass will make her feel the same, but it's only deadening the pain. It doesn't actually do her any good. For most people, bearded tongue grass would be fine, but I know the fool girl would start practicing again and tear something vital. That could leave her crippled.

All right, that's all we need to know. We could ask Old Ming about a number of things such as the Emperor and the Long Drought and spend fifteen minutes listening to him go on and on, but he doesn't really have anything to say that won't come up in a less boring manner. So, we're off to see Merchant Fen Do for that herb.

And don't you let that Merchant Fen Do talk you into the cheap stuff! He might make a few extra silvers, but your friend's health isn't worth his profit margins.

Thanks, old man. This is one of those quests where the Closed Fist path has absolutely nothing to do with the supposed Closed Fist philosophy. If we were to tell Kia Min that no, you should just let it heal on its own and maybe train harder in the future so you don't get hurt next time, that'd make some sense but if we bought the bearded tongue grass we'd basically be doing it just to be a gigantic rear end in a top hat to a person who hasn't done anything to us. Closed Fist obviously doesn't appreciate "weakness" like getting injured by bandits, but it also doesn't expect us to actively gently caress over those who we deem to be weak (how are they supposed to get stronger if they get crippled due to our actions?) Which is what we'd be doing in this quest if we took that path. I suppose we could tell her she needs to take it easy, and if she aggravates the injury it's her own fault?

I guess you could argue that we'd save some money and Kia Min would be able to fight at least once, which would help us get the special reward from Smiling Mountain, but the amount of silver we'd save there is so pitiful that it's not worth it in the slightest. Speaking of which, here's Fen Do.

The only shame is that their ship sunk. Think what we could have done with their plunder. Ahh well, that's another opportunity lost. In this town, it's vital for a businessman to keep tabs on anyone with two coins to rub together. Things haven't been this slow since the Long Drought. That master of yours keeps things ludicrously stable, while merchants thrive on strife. During the Long Drought, prices rocketed into the sky like fireworks.

Let's talk about what you can do for me.

Happily. We don't need to waste time on my gripes when there's silver to be spent.

I'm looking for ingredients for a medical poultice.

Let's just get to business so we can get out of here.

Anyway, I've checked my stocks and I only have enough ingredients to make one dose of the salve for a poultice. I'm not sure how much good it will do by itself. Might take a bit of the sting away.

Seriously, if you get the bearded tongue grass you're worse than double Hitler.

Expensive stuff that. Very pricey. Hard to acquire, too. Would certainly help her wound, but I know something just as good. Get her some bearded tongue grass and she'll feel better. It won't hasten the healing any, so she'll have to take it easy, but it will deaden the pain.

If you think you can justify such opulence to heal something that time would take care of, who am I to argue? I'll just need your payment to prepare the poultice.

50 silver isn't bad at all, we have several hundred, but let's see if we can get a discount anyway.

Once again, we can use our persuasion skills to try and get him to lower the price. I think charm should work nicely here.

We now get the red silk grass for 40 silver, which isn't a massive discount but every little bit helps.

That's all we need for now. We can also ask what Fen Do has for sale, but it turns out he has absolutely nothing. Apparently, people are scared to travel so goods don't get to Two Rivers.

Right, let's head back to Kia Min and tell her we got a poultice that should help her wound.

The poultice must have cost you some silver. Let me repay you! What did it cost?

Obviously, the "best" option (as in the one that earns us the most Open Palm points) is to refuse the reward, but if we're going to do a fetch quest I'd rather not lose money while doing it. We may be Open Palm as hell but we're not stupid. So, let's just tell the truth.

We make a huge profit of ten silver, but more importantly we can now try Smiling Mountain's challenge.

I wonder if Smiling Mountain is his birth name or if he earned it later.

Is there anything you need? Perhaps a training session with some of the students? It would do them good.

Are there students available to spar with?

Yes, and the students are on edge from the bandit attack. It would do them good to work some of that out. And now that Kia Min is feeling better, maybe you'd like to challenge her record in my little training exercise.

All right, let's go. We could've sparred with students before and actually earned some stat bonuses from doing so, but when you ask about sparring before doing Kia Min's quest Smiling Mountain says "Well yeah I guess I could set it up but I'm sure you want a bigger challenge" and I assumed that meant it was just an option for new players who want to practice combat.

Yes, we took them all down with the sword. :unsmigghh:

Our reward for beating these guys into submission is Alloyed Body, a special stat-boosting technique (+5 to health and focus) devised by Smiling Mountain. We can also buy some slightly worse ones from him, all of which have some sort of a negative effect to one stat along with the bonus to another one. We buy Heart of Gold (Chi +3, Focus -1), sadly not being able to afford another technique to go along with it.

Before we talk to Master Li, there is the matter of the lion statue we saw earlier.

[The altar and statue serve to show students a real example of lessons otherwise presented abstractly in class. It has not seen use in some time. The altar is less ornate than the statue, and was replaced many times after frustrated or deliberate outbursts from students, but that, too is part of the exercise. There is mention of a greater reward for the more investigative path, but that was probably an additional element of the test performed by the master who placed it. You cannot recall Master Li ever referring to this statue. Different masters prefer different methods of teaching.]

[Approach the altar.]

As you may remember, we picked up red, blue and yellow lion figurines. The obvious solution would be to place those on the altar one after the other, corresponding to the sphere's color and doing so gives us 1 silver, but as the text said there is a greater reward for a "more investigative" path. And we did find that lion head token earlier...

[Place the token from the Old Master's grave in the lion's mouth.]

Oh my, such a fiendish conundrum.

Apparently, solving a "puzzle" a three-year-old could figure out counts as a momentous occasion.

Our reward is Gaze of the Lion, another technique that boosts our stats permanently (Health +2, Focus +2). You can also smash the altar for 25 silver pieces if you prefer.

All right, now let's go talk to Master Li.

It means, however, that I must accelerate your training. These invaders discovered us by accident, but as you likely suspect, they are related to your destiny. You have trained hard and are ready. You will have a pivotal role in some great events, my student... after you return from the Spirit Cave.

Well, that sounds slightly ominous.

If you spent less time coddling her, you would have many promising students instead of one.

Once again I should've picked the bottom response. It's not wrong, and since we're talking to Gao it doesn't matter if we're dicks to him.

I understand that this student has received preferential treatment and I have suffered for it. Whatever is in this Spirit Cave, I am worthy of facing it too! If she is truly better than me, let her prove it. I challenge her.

Spoiler: He's very much not worthy of facing the Spirit Cave.

I will not have you brawling in the street. If this must happen, it will happen in the ring, as a proper test of your abilities. Gao, you are restricted to styles that I have taught. I know the dark tutoring your father, Gao the Greater, has imparted, but I won't have any such sorcery here.

Hobbled before I begin. Of course, how else will your precious protégé win?

I am ready now. Let's begin.

Then let the fighters meet in the arena.


Fighters! Begin!

VIDEO: Boss: Gao the Lesser

Apologies for the desynced audio in this clip, I didn't notice until I was preparing a video for the next update that the sound is off. Premiere Pro apparently still doesn't like variable frame rate footage from Shadowplay. The video in the previous update was fine because the game and the video were both 30fps, I did the INI tweak after that to run the game at 60fps. Guess I'll either record in 60fps from here on or just play the game at its default 30fps.

Gao has quite a bit more health than any of the foes we've fought before, and also uses Heavenly Wave to try and slow us down. Chi strikes help us do a bit more damage to him, that's what the blue glow around Wu's hands is.

Gao also uses area attacks quite often, and I figured I'd return the favor.

All in all, Gao isn't that tough. I didn't need to heal that often, and the reason my focus is so low at the end of the fight is that I tried using focus mode and the sword at the same time. That drains the focus gauge like nobody's business.

Defeated, Gao hobbles off.

Or at least pretends to do so. What, you thought he wouldn't try to cheat at some point, preferably when we let our guard down? (Also, I just noticed that part of the bottom of this screenshot and a few others is cut off for some reason. I blame Fraps.)

Master Li isn't having any of it, and steps in to block Gao's fire spell.

That is the face of a man who has realized he hosed up.

And this is the face of a man who has finally had enough of dealing with Gao's antics.

You are no longer welcome among my students, and your father's house shall have no more business here, despite his influence.

I was not beaten! Not by this peasant!

You were defeated by your own foolish ambition and predictable temper. I will speak with you in my chambers about your expulsion. Go now!

Enjoy the words of your fellows. I will wait in the main hall, where we will discuss the Spirit Cave. Be certain you are ready when you come to me; your life is about to change.

We won't spend too much time chatting with the students, as they basically just tell us how cool we are and how Gao is a big jerk. We've established both of those things pretty well by this point, I think. We'll listen to what Dawn Star has to say, though.

I hope he isn't allowed to stay. Punishment just makes him worse. Master Li has bent like a willow to accommodate him and his sorcerous father.

Master Li does what he must. He is our master.

But don't you wish that some things made more sense? Anticipation is grueling... so much could be happening that you just don't know about. It scares me sometimes, all this talk of troubled spirits. I didn't ask to be a part of it. As much as you want to know more, I doubt you had a say in your fate, either. I'm... I'm sorry, this is supposed to be a happy time. You've proven your ability and... Master Li is waiting for you. You should go to him.

Yeah, not spending too much time talking to these guys. We can ask Lin about the Spirit Cave because she's heard a bunch of rumors, but all she really has to say is that the cave is really spooky.

Let's just go see for ourselves.

Yes, Master. I am ready.

Wait outside, Gao. I will finish with you later.

Does it have something to do with the bandit assassin?

I take responsibility for it. You see, I used to be more than a humble teacher. To learn of yourself, you must learn more of me. I was once leader of the Imperial Army.

Master! You've never said anything about this!

I will tell you more, but first, we have an uninvited visitor.

He should respect even the most humble person, because who knows what lies within? That includes you and me both.

Why hide that you are the Emperor's brother?

I was ashamed. He seized your homeland during the Long Drought. It was an aggressive change in the Empire that would soon bring Death's Hand to power. I withdrew my support, and tried to rally your people against the siege I had helped plan. A doomed effort. Many died on both sides. Sun Kin, another brother, also fell.

This, I think, is a good place to stop for now. This update is long enough already, and we've barely gotten started with all the exposition. There's a reason why this update is named as it is.

DMorbid fucked around with this message at 22:36 on Sep 18, 2017

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Goddammit, some of the images aren't loading properly for some reason (that reason being "I am an idiot who keeps mistyping the filenames for the Rightload URL auto replacer script"). I'll fix it, and a couple of other typos while I'm at it.

DMorbid fucked around with this message at 19:43 on Nov 30, 2016

Feb 21, 2014

"Gao, go wait outside the door."

>: (

"I'm actually the king's brother and used to be the brains behind the throne. I'd tell you more, but there's someone outside the door."


"Well, that was certainly predictable."

Yeah, no poo poo "Master Li."

Oct 24, 2010
I know you're going Open Palm for the main run, but will you be showing off the Zither of Discord side quest? It's just about the only time Closed Fist is written properly.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

Unfortunately, the guy who gives you that quest just tells you to gently caress off if you're Open Palm. :saddowns: I'll at least make sure to talk about the quest when we get there.

Oct 9, 2012

inflatablefish posted:

I know you're going Open Palm for the main run, but will you be showing off the Zither of Discord side quest? It's just about the only time Closed Fist is written properly.

Aside from the one really surprising voice actor in the game, and this intro. The Zither of Discord is the only thing I really remember of this game.

Also, fun historical fact. Ancient China valued silver above gold, so 121 taels of silver is a auspicious.

Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.

Doc Morbid posted:

I'm one of those weirdos who can't bring themselves to play as a total rear end in a top hat in RPGs, so closed fist stuff will be kept to a minimum unlike in every other Jade Empire LP in existence. I will definitely be pointing out just how much of a dick you can be when we get to those parts of the game.

It's cool. It's an enjoyable experience and you're doing great. When you've finished the LP I'll probably talk a bit about the Maximum Treason playthrough (if I remember to) just to point out how silly it is.

Bioware should have learned more from Jade Empire.

King Doom
Dec 1, 2004
I am on the Internet.

MightyPretenders posted:

"Gao, go wait outside the door."

>: (

"I'm actually the king's brother and used to be the brains behind the throne. I'd tell you more, but there's someone outside the door."


"Well, that was certainly predictable."

Yeah, no poo poo "Master Li."

Master Li is called the Glorious Strategist for a reason. The plot of this game stands out as one that was exceptionally well made.

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.
Thanks for doing this game! It has its flaws but it's still the Bioware game I enjoy most.

I'm one of those people who is massively uncomfortable taking the evil path in Bioware games, so when Jade Empire told me that Closed Fist wasn't evil and why, I was very interested to have an "evil" moral choice that I could take without spoiling my enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately Closed Fist choices, as has been observed already, usually ought to be called "Raised Middle Finger" because it's less about encouraging people to become strong and independent and more about being a colossal dick for no reason.

I've never done Zither of Discord because of that. Apparently I should, if it's the exception.

Lemniscate Blue fucked around with this message at 15:02 on Dec 1, 2016

Feb 21, 2014

King Doom posted:

Master Li is called the Glorious Strategist for a reason. The plot of this game stands out as one that was exceptionally well made.

No argument here, but there are times like this when his glorious strategies are silly in how blatant they are.

May 1, 2012

You think you can defeat ME, Ephraimcopter?!?

You couldn't even beat Assassincopter!!!
I still have a soft spot for Jade Empire, even if it has its share of flaws and can be completely clowned on by using certain styles later on. Some genuinely solid plot twists and a few delightably quotable characters. Happy to follow this!

Mar 17, 2009

Kid's blasting everything in sight with that new-fangled musket.

You mention not using harmonic combos much, in my experience they're pretty crucial on higher difficulties. Totally agree that you can ignore them on easy though and maybe normal though.

Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.

sebzilla posted:

You mention not using harmonic combos much, in my experience they're pretty crucial on higher difficulties. Totally agree that you can ignore them on easy though and maybe normal though.
I tend to play on normal, and the harmonic combos aren't that necessary there. They are still fun, so I'll be showing them off once I get something decent to start them with.

Oct 24, 2010

Doc Morbid posted:

Unfortunately, the guy who gives you that quest just tells you to gently caress off if you're Open Palm. :saddowns: I'll at least make sure to talk about the quest when we get there.

Yeah, I was hoping I could persuade you to do a side run to show it off, though I guess doing an extra run through a decent chunk of the game just to show one sidequest would be a bit of a chore.


Mar 14, 2009

I don't like it when you're watching me eat.
Glad to see a playthrough of this game. I think I only did it twice, but unfortunately I made a couple of the same mistakes, so I didn't get the better options (Zither Mission I screwed up the same way both times).

  • Locked thread