Jade Empire - A Playthrough (NSF56k)



  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Suds wrote: »
    What about KOTOR 1? God I love that game.

    KotOR1 will be the next game I do. Unless you were answering DarkPrimus, in which case I say 'tough!' :P

    Another update coming shortly! I thought I was going to finish Chapter 2 all at once, but maybe not.

    Janson on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Silpheed wrote: »
    I still feel that the whole deal with the open palm/closed fist philosophy was a bit of a wasted effort since Bioware, true to their writing style boiled it down to the standard saint/psychopath morale choices. There are some true gems for those who like their morale choices to be a bit less black and white but mostly it boiled down to save kittens or eat them.

    Exactly. Some of the Closed Fist solutions made me feel just as guilty as any other 'evil' path in any other game. It's a shame because I still think there's great potential for a RPG to have a more morally grey area. KotOR2 has come closest in my opinion, but there are still no benefits in that game to choosing the middle path.

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 2 is significantly longer than Chapter 1, but is accompanied by fewer screenshots and more text. I hope that this doesn't make it more confusing. I had originally written this playthrough to be more compact, but decided that I didn't have enough material to cover the first chapter. I re-did Chapter 1 but haven't redone subsequent chapters; if you feel they're too short, then I will certainly consider redoing them.


    Sagacious Zu, Dawn Star and I crash our flyer outside a town called Tien's Landing. Not a surprise, says Zu, who explains that since we didn't have a wind map we were flying dangerously anyway. Well, thanks, you might have said so earlier and avoided the risk of us dying.

    We have little hope of reaching Imperial City without a flyer and a wind map; and we have no hope of finding either of those two things without finding civilisation and other people's help.

    I take Dawn Star with me and we make our way towards the town. The sun is setting over the town, and the surrounding woods are dark indeed. It's grim, and ghosts are near...


    The nearby dam is open and the water is at a low level.

    We're in reach of the town when a mysterious stranger springs from the sky...


    She - for it is a woman - blocks our path.


    Why is it that any enemy always feels he can talk first and fight later, but a potential ally wishes to fight first and only then is prepared to actually listen to anything you may have to say? My protestations fall on deaf ears, and I am forced to duel with this lady in black.

    I win, but spare her, and finally manage to persuade her that we're not in any way related to Death's Hand or Gao the Greater.


    Thanks for the warning, but you know me, can't resist a challenge!

    She disappears and Dawn Star and I meet up with Sagacious Zu at Tien's Landing.


    Tien's Landing is a charming enough lakeside town consisting of ramshackle wooden buildings, many of which are on stilts, and a rather magnificent tea-house.

    Twenty years ago the original town was flooded when the Emperor commanded a dam to be built. No warning was given to the inhabitants, and many people drowned. The present Tien's Landing is a new-build and the townspeople are reluctant to talk of the flooding; it brings up too many painful memories.

    Recently, however, the dam was opened for the first time and the rivers feeding the lake have now dwindled to a trickle, exposing the ruins of the old town and stranding sailors and fishermen. Business is bad in Tien's Landing and people have been dying of starvation. They feel that they're better off taking their chances elsewhere, despite the rumours that plague the surrounding lands...

    As we cross the bridge to the town centre we meet a lady, named Yeung Yifong, and her daughter. They're leaving the town, although I do my best to dissuade them. Sometimes, however, people have to be allowed to make their own mistakes. Seeing that I cannot change their minds, I wish them all the best for the future.

    No sooner does my party enter Tien's Landing than we're involved in yet another fight, coming to the aid of a lady named Hui. She can hold her own, but she's also outnumbered four to one and thus appreciates our help. The marooned sailors are getting bored and are full of angst.

    It turns out that Hui is an old friend of Master Li's and has been waiting for me for some time. Apparently Master Li 'knew' I would come here when the time was right. Not only that - Hui also knows Sagacious Zu! Zu left a baby girl in Hui's care twenty years ago, trusting Hui to find a good home for her - which she did.

    I wonder who that baby girl could be? Unfortunately there's no option to guess.

    Hui confirms that Master Li is indeed Sun Li the Glorious Strategist, and Zu says he wishes he had known that. She also gives me the same story that Master Li did, albeit in more detail. This is the first time that Dawn Star and Sagacious Zu have heard of the destruction of Dirge and they are as shocked as I was.


    (Hui is in the red cap between Zu and myself.)

    After all that talking I'm in need of a drink. Hui suggests that I talk to her further in the tea-house:


    Hui gives me a quest; I am to retrieve the next part of my amulet. Master Li didn't tell me, but the amulet I picked up in the Spirit Cave is not actually complete. It was broken into three pieces and distributed across the Empire. Why Li did this I cannot be certain - and why plan this so far in advance? Hui herself says that she has been waiting here patiently for over ten years. Li is going to have a lot to answer for when I finally catch up to - I mean rescue - him.

    I'm not exactly in a hurry, however, to head right back into those dark woods. I think I'll explore my surroundings first, and I might as well start with this very fine establishment.


    The lanterns give the interior of the tea-house a soft, warm glow.

    I wonder who's in charge here?

    I ask the tea-boy (server? Is there such a title?) and he explains that Old Mother Kwan used to own the tea-house, but that it is now in the hands of a man named Three Sheets Dutong. Dutong arrived here one day with an Imperial writ that he claimed gave him ownership to the land, and he forced Mother Kwan to hand her keys over to him.

    That all sounds a little fishy to me. Did anyone actually read this Imperial writ? He waved it in a lot of people's faces, but how many of those people actually took their time to read over the fine print? Only Old Mother Kwan, answers the tea-boy, and her eyesight is failing.

    Call it a hunch, but I'm guessing that this writ wasn't exactly legal...


    That's me. Saviour of old women; champion of justice.

    The tea-boy (his name is Steeper Yanru) has a plan. Dutong likes his drink, and, much like any of us, he goes through several stages of drunkenness. First there is the happy drunk stage, then the sad-depressed drunk stage, then finally the angry drunk stage. If I could get him to sad-depressed drunk stage, he may be willing to confess.


    Easily done.

    His guard quickly slips him an antidote to make him sober again - but not before I have heard Dutong confess that the Imperial writ was a forgery. Dutong tries to bribe me to remain quiet, but I am not so easily corrupted. I appeal to Steeper Yanru, who says that he, too, heard Dutong's confession. Three Sheets Dutong finally realises that he cannot win, and he and his guard run away like the cowards they are.


    Old Mother Kwan is extremely grateful.

    Upstairs I find a farmer pleading with an upset ogre.


    I ask what the problem is. The man is affronted when I refer to 'his' ogre:


    Basically, Zhong is a big softy and considers the oxen to be his friends, so to discover that he had accidentally killed a friend was extremely traumatic for him. I go and persuade Zhong that he has to return home to the farm with Dong Ping because the other ox is left all alone.

    Mother Kwan rewards me for relieving the teahouse of the ogre, who was scaring potential customers away. Good deeds sometimes do have their own rewards!

    Outside the tea-house, in the town square, I find the man who is in charge of Tien's Landing. His name is Minister Cheng.


    He really isn't very happy. In fact, he is so unhappy that he's compiled a list of grievances.

    He can't hire anyone to help him because that would attract the attention of the Lotus Assassins. Wait, the who?

    The Lotus Assassins are a semi-secret organisation who carry out the will of the Emperor under the command of Death's Hand. They evolved from a more pacifistic order of monks called the Order of The Lotus who would aid and advise the Emperor throughout his reign. As the present Emperor grew more corrupt, however, so did the Lotus monks, until they were renamed and branded the elite of the Emperor's military might. Now the Assassins are little more than petty criminals, responsible for spreading fear and terror throughout the Empire. It was they who opened up the dam in order to gain access to the ruins of the old town.

    What Minister Sheng can do, however, is 'lose' the key to the site of the ruins. If a friendly passer-by might happen to 'find' the key, he could gain access to the ruins and possibly close the dam.

    Somehow I leave Minister Sheng having gained possession of a key.

    Elsewhere in the town, a lady is worried about her fiancé, Baker Bei. He's being beaten up every day by thugs, seemingly for no reason.


    I promise to help.

    At the other end of the town I spy Baker Bei himself. True to his fiancée's words, he is set upon by a couple of rough-looking men. I help rescue him, and he tells me the thugs were acting under Ai Ling's orders. Ai Ling is a rough and ready woman who's never exactly been popular with the boys. Bei had promised to marry her when they were little children, and she never forgot the promise, so ever since Bei's been engaged she's been harassing him. Looks like we're about to go and confront her.


    I get her to apologise and promise to help find her a husband.

    There is one potential suitor in the tea-house.


    But he and Ai Ling can only insult each other.


    He can't quite cope with Ai Ling's force of character.

    Eventually I find a suitable match. I marry her off to a nice, shy woods craftsman. Her good business sense and his wood-carving skills will result in a happy and prosperous relationship.

    Anything else I can do to aid the inhabitants of Tien's Landing? Just one small thing. One of the merchants has had his figurine stolen by one of the drunken sailors.

    I chase after the man and he tells me that he took it because it reminded him of his mother. I explain truthfully that the figurine belonged to the merchant's mother, and that is of great sentimental value to him.


    My tasks in the town are finished for now. I have yet to get any closer to finding a wind map or a flyer, and there is the missing part of my amulet to find. I'd best start exploring the nearby ruins and woods.

    Janson on
  • Options
    YesNoMuYesNoMu Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    This thread is great! I was probably never going to play this game, and the artstyle is very pretty. Thanks for giving me a chance to experience it.

    YesNoMu on
  • Options
    SudsSuds Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Ok, CH 2 is making me want to play this game again. I need to find some time to put aside.

    Suds on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Bah, you left out the Open Palm/Closed Fist martial arts teachers.

    Not that they're important to the story, but I kinda like their interactions.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Bah, you left out the Open Palm/Closed Fist martial arts teachers.

    Not that they're important to the story, but I kinda like their interactions.

    I can add them back in!

    Also, Chapter 2 gets us all of our romance options (just about). As a male character, I can choose any one of them!

    Janson on
  • Options
    Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo We are only now beginning to understand the full power and ramifications of sexual intercourse Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I just finished this myself. Sadly I didn't manage the lesbian romance.

    Mojo_Jojo on
    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Terribly busy with work today, and as I lack an internet connection at home I've not had time to write a massive update. But I do have the Open Palm/Close Fist teachers for WotanAnubis.

    They're named Jian the Iron Fist and Mistress Vo and are found at the base of the hill in Tien's Landing.


    I approach them; they appear to be playing a game, but there's no board or board pieces.





    It would appear that they've been playing in their heads, calling out the moves to one another and keeping a mental map of where pieces on the board would be.


    I ask if they have any training to offer, but Jian dismisses me rather rudely.





    Well, that's reassuring to know, at least.


    I like how Mistress Vo thinks.

    Now they turn to competing for my attention.



    To be honest I think Tempest sounds more interesting, but to receive Jian's teaching I'd have to sabotage the dam and ruin Tien's Landing's prospects.



    Jian still has admirable spark.


    Mistress Vo prefers a quieter life.


    I ask Jian if I can have a moment of his time.


    I ask him about his history with Vo.





    I love a good fight, but solving everything with violence does get a tad...tiresome.

    I ask Jian how he manages to fight still when he is so old.



    It's impressive, that's for sure.

    They have little else to tell me until I've proven that I follow one or the other's path, so I continue on my way.

    Janson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    Terribly busy with work today, and as I lack an internet connection at home I've not had time to write a massive update. But I do have the Open Palm/Close Fist teachers for WotanAnubis.

    I'd request the lesbian romance as well, but that would be a bit tricky.

    Well, as long as you follow Kang's storyline, I'll be happy.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    deowolfdeowolf is allowed to do that. Traffic.Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Sam wrote: »
    kotor started with you aboard your spacecruiser which gets boarded and raped because someone is on it that the enemy needs. something from. or something.

    Spoiler that shit!

    deowolf on
  • Options
    Magic PinkMagic Pink Tur-Boner-Fed Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    deowolf wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    kotor started with you aboard your spacecruiser which gets boarded and raped because someone is on it that the enemy needs. something from. or something.

    Spoiler that shit!

    It's the intro to the game. It doesn't need a spolier.

    Magic Pink on
  • Options
    BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'd request the lesbian romance as well, but that would be a bit tricky.

    Especially since he's playing as a guy. ;)

    I actually just got this game (Am playing Furious Ming and romancing Sky). I really, really enjoy it. It is a bit short, but that's fine by me as I don't have too too much free time.

    Blackjack on

    3DS: 1607-3034-6970
  • Options
    shadeedgeshadeedge Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I've played this, but your narrations are great.

    shadeedge on
  • Options
    deowolfdeowolf is allowed to do that. Traffic.Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Magic Pink wrote: »
    deowolf wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    kotor started with you aboard your spacecruiser which gets boarded and raped because someone is on it that the enemy needs. something from. or something.

    Spoiler that shit!

    It's the intro to the game. It doesn't need a spolier.


    deowolf on
  • Options
    LockeColeLockeCole Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    deowolf wrote: »
    Magic Pink wrote: »
    deowolf wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    kotor started with you aboard your spacecruiser which gets boarded and raped because someone is on it that the enemy needs. something from. or something.

    Spoiler that shit!

    It's the intro to the game. It doesn't need a spolier.


    On the PA boards? Never.

    LockeCole on
  • Options
    capable heartcapable heart Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    LockeCole wrote: »
    deowolf wrote: »
    Magic Pink wrote: »
    deowolf wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    kotor started with you aboard your spacecruiser which gets boarded and raped because someone is on it that the enemy needs. something from. or something.

    Spoiler that shit!

    It's the intro to the game. It doesn't need a spolier.


    On the PA boards? Never.

    Spoiler that shit, otherwise our sarcasm won't come as a surprise.

    capable heart on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Blackjack wrote: »
    I'd request the lesbian romance as well, but that would be a bit tricky.

    Especially since she's playing as a guy. ;)

    I actually just got this game (Am playing Furious Ming and romancing Sky). I really, really enjoy it. It is a bit short, but that's fine by me as I don't have too too much free time.

    My first two times playing the PC version were as a female (Wu the Lotus Blossom) because I <3 Sky and I'd played a man on the X-box.

    But for a playthrough I figured that playing as a male would give me the greater range of options when it came to the romance.

    However, seeing as the lesbian romance is the one romance I've not done, I might be persuaded to load up one of my Wu save games and replay Chapters 3-6.

    I'd request the lesbian romance as well, but that would be a bit tricky.

    Well, as long as you follow Kang's storyline, I'll be happy.

    Ah well, um, about that :oops:
    I always get down to the last airship battle, and fail miserably. I've attempted it maybe 30-40 times. Maybe if I could send my saved game to someone...

    Janson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    Ah well, um, about that :oops:
    I always get down to the last airship battle, and fail miserably. I've attempted it maybe 30-40 times. Maybe if I could send my saved game to someone...
    It's not too bad. Just....
    Make sure you have the... what was it... Dragon's Wrath or something from the flyer merchant. Once the boss and all his orbs come into view, unleash that attack. All the orbs will be destroyed and you can attack the centre at your leisure.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Now you're assuming I can do the merchant's quests D:

    Brief recap: It is time to enter the ruins of Old Tien's Landing. They were flooded twenty years ago with no warning, and a lot of the inhabitants drowned. Now their spirits are restless, but one brave warrior has to traverse through the ruins in order to close the dam and restore trade and wealth to the new town...


    This is intriguing. Ghosts apparently manifest in one of two ways; if you are troubled, you remain as a pale, walking, talking version of your old self, able to harm the living as if you were still alive. If you are not troubled, you apparently glow green and fly around in circles like an overgrown and demented fairy.

    I've taken two steps into the ruins when I encounter a group of rat demons. Most attack, but one is fearful for his life:


    Okay. After all, despite how I act, I'm not willing to kill absolutely everything that crosses my path.

    The rat demon informs me that Imperial soldiers lurk around the corner. They're attempting to find a gem hidden behind a wall. They're planning to use a substance called 'dragon powder' with which to create an explosion and blow up the wall. Personally I think it'd be easier to just climb it.

    The rat demon tells me where to find the dragon powder, and I slip it into my pocket. Treading softly, I manage to approach the rockets while the soldiers inspect the wall. I'm apparently an expert in demolitions as I have no problems knowing how to insert the dragon powder into the rockets, and within a few seconds the wall, along with the Imperial soldiers, are gone.

    I'll look behind that wall in a moment. For now, I have two restless ghosts to deal with.


    In an old house just behind the rockets are the ghosts of two small children. They were orphans when the town was flooded.


    They believe they were abandoned by the orphanage master, Kindly Yushan. He still lives - in fact I met him in the tea-house in the new town. I didn't think he was very kindly at all, however; he was quite surly to me.

    The girl, Miao, believes that she will only rest easy if I bring her Kindly Yushan's head. The boy, Bin, disagrees with Miao; he doesn't believe that this will solve anything. He asks me to request that Kindly Yushan give their bones a proper burial.

    I make a quick trip back to the tea-house. Once I mention the ghosts to Kindly Yushan he instantly becomes more talkative. He explains how he tried to return to rescue the orphans, but that the water rose too quickly and there was nothing he could do. The guilt of his failure has been plaguing him ever since. He doesn't like to think of any of his former protégés being unable to rest, especially not Miao, who in life was a kindly girl who used to assist him in caring for the younger orphans.

    I persuade Kindly Yushan to return with me to the ruins. Once we are there Miao wishes to harm him herself; but Bin and I manage to dissuade her from doing so. Instead we watch Kindly Yushan as he buries the children's bones.


    Once this has been done Bin and Miao instantly feel more peaceful, as if enveloped in a warm blanket. They bow in thanks to me, and slowly fade from sight.


    Kindly Yushan, too, is finally at ease, and thanks me for my assistance.

    Now I'm free to explore beyond the broken wall.

    A fissure in the rocks beyond the wall leads to an abandoned mine. This was where criminals were locked up and made to work. It is also where the missing gem the soldiers were searching for lies.

    The criminals, like the orphans, drowned when the town was flooded, believing that no one cared enough for them to come and rescue them. But this is again untrue; the jailer, Turnkey Shiji, planned to free them, but made the mistake of freeing Strangler Jizu first. Strangler Jizu was one of the toughest and more insane prisoners, and his initial reaction was to murder Shiji in a rage, binding Shiji's spirit to the gem and condemning his fellow criminals to death.

    I defeat Strangler Jizu's spirit, although his is a tough fight; his ghost draws upon the essence of his fellow ghosts and replenishes his health. Once I have laid him to rest I am able to free Turnkey Shiji's spirit, and in return I am granted the missing gem.

    Essence Gems

    I realise that I haven't explained the importance of these gems yet. They are what my character can insert into his amulet in order to draw upon their power and boost his abilities. In Jade Empire you have a limited inventory; gems and weapons are the only non-quest items that you can buy and trade in.

    There's little more to do here in the ruins. I find a cameo portrait hidden amongst the rubble and slip it into my pocket; perhaps it belongs to someone in Tien's Landing.

    I also eavesdrop in on a Lotus Assassin and his Imperial Soldier lackey. From their conversation I learn the password required to pass the golems guarding the bridge leading to the dam controls. Fools!

    Unfortunately they learn that I have been listening in on them. The Assassin escapes, leaving me to contend with the soldier. I kill the soldier and then run after the Lotus Assassin. He pulls up the drawbridge leading to the ruins but I manage to find the controls and the bridge falls back into place. I cross the bridge, but the Assassin has disappeared.

    As I leave the ruins I fall to my knees and am granted yet another vision.


    The blue spirit - who I can now safely assume is of the Water Dragon herself - implies that events have been set in motion for a very long time. I had already guessed this from what Hui had said.

    She also tells me that an ally lies up ahead. I wonder who this ally could be?

    I find a little girl, who giggles and warns me that a huge guardian demon lies up ahead. She then runs away from me; but not far enough to prevent me from seeing that it is she herself who transforms into the demon.


    Are you my ally? Wait, why do I always have to fight to prove myself?


    That's because I'm your ally, idiot. Now, join my party!

    The guardian demon is named Chai Ka and the girl in whose body he has taken spiritual residence is called Wild Flower. Wild Flower follows me the majority of the time; when I fight, it is Chai Ka who is by my side.

    It transpires that it was Chai Ka who was in charge of guarding the second missing piece of my amulet, which now lies in the hand of the Lotus Assassin who earlier ran from me.

    So far my adventures in Tien's Landing have yielded nothing. I still lack a flyer and a wind map, and I've also failed to find the second amulet part. Oh well; there is at least one thing I can do. I can go and close the dam and bring some happiness back to the lives of the inhabitants of Tien's Landing.

    Fortunately the password to pass the golems still works. The Assassin may have fled the area but he didn't have time to change it to prevent me gaining access to the dam. I go and close the dam and the waters almost instantly rise; the ruins are flooded once again.


    The closing of the dam prompts the mysterious lady in black to appear once again.


    Apology accepted! Will you join me, too? Not yet? Oh, okay.

    However, she does give me some valuable information. She, too, is interested in Master Li; she wants to know who he really is and why he would be kidnapped by the Lotus Assassins. I tell her he is Sun Li the Glorious Strategist. She doesn't believe me, but she does say that he will have been taken to Imperial City, and that I might find a wind map in the possession of Lord Yun. Lord Yun owns the Great Southern Forest found just outside Tien's Landing.

    I return to Tien's Landing and am thanked by Minister Sheng for having restored prosperity to the town. The lake is no longer dry, and already some of the sailors have sailed on their merry way.


    You can just see on the horizon that the water level has risen, justifying the use of stilts on the fishing huts. Also, Dawn Star rather exposes herself when she runs.

    A messenger in the town centre is trying to attract attention. I run over to him and with an enormous deal of relief he informs me that Lord Yun is seeking help. I need Lord Yun's wind map, so I agree to meet with him.

    Lord Yun's forest is dying. It sickens and is plagued with ghosts. All of the trade routes to Tien's Landing are cut off. I offer my help in exchange for a copy of his wind map, which Lord Yun readily accepts.


    Yun believes that the Forest Shadow, a fox spirit, may be at the heart of all his troubles. His family were tasked with worshipping her, but Yun has been slack in his duties and thinks she may resent him. He tells me to go and meet with his ranger, Spear Catches Leaf, to discuss the situation further.

    The forest certainly is looking rather miserable.


    The forest spans a hill; fortunately stone steps were at one point built onto the hillside, making it easier for me to climb.


    At one point I come to a bridge. A man approaches from the far side, fleeing two Lost Spirits, which I defend him from.

    He's a messenger from the Pilgrim's Inn. He explains that he's been sent to find help; in happier times the Pilgrim's Inn offered food and rest to a weary traveller, but since the forest fell corrupt no caravans have been able to make their way through, and he and his friends are trapped within the Inn, their food supplies dwindling, unable to leave for fear of being attacked by the Forest Shadow.

    I offer to accompany him to Tien's Landing, but he's reluctant to accept my assistance, instead begging me to go with him back to the Inn. I promise to do so.

    We turn round, and almost immediately the Forest Shadow herself appears out of nowhere and turns the man to stone. She then leaps upon me and attempts to do the same; but my will is strong and I manage to break free.



    She's startled by my ability to resist her spells and vanishes amongst the trees.

    I head to the Pilgrim's Inn. At the very least I can try to offer assistance to the men that are already there.

    The Innkeeper gives me a welcome that's perhaps not as warm as I was expecting, considering that I'm trying to help his guests. Dawn Star says that the men seem corrupt and simple. I speak to the chef, Henpecked Hou, who is the only normal seeming one. He hints at dark troubles and tells me to mention the 'Great Mother' to the Innkeeper. I do so, and the Innkeeper reveals his true self:


    Ugh! No wonder they've been able to survive for any length of time at all! These men have been eating their fellow travellers, their friends, in order to live. Desperate times they may be, but I don't think that I could ever stoop to eating human flesh. They don't wait for people to die, but kill them while they are still fatty and plump. Henpecked Hou was spared because he was too stringy to eat.

    I kill the Innkeeper and his followers and retrieve a crystal off the Innkeeper's body.

    I'm starting to gain a different perspective on events in the forest. If everyone at the Pilgrim's Inn, save for Hou, is a cannibal, then the messenger must've been a cannibal too. Perhaps, then, the Forest Shadow killed the messenger because she recognised him as an enemy. The 'Great Mother' that Henpecked Hou mentioned, that these cannibals worship, may actually be at the heart of the forest's troubles.

    It's time to pay the Forest Shadow a visit.

    I find Spear Catches Leaf and the mercenary helping him, The Black Whirlwind, on the other side of the forest. The Black Whirlwind is carefree and thoughtless, and his first impulse is to attack me. He's so impressed that I manage to beat him down that he immediately offers to join my party. I'm not exactly sure what this lumbering oaf can offer me, but I don't really appear to have a choice.

    Spear Catches Leaf apologises on behalf of the mercenary, but also appears a little relieved to be rid of him. He explains that he's been researching how to complete the Ritual of Seasons, a ritual that opens up a portal to the Forest Shadow. He hasn't managed to perform the ritual yet, however; he doesn't have all the items necessary to complete it. Leaving me with the information he's gathered, he returns to Lord Yun.

    The ritual itself is simple to work out; the only missing part was the crystal I claimed from the corpse of the Innkeeper. Soon I've opened up a portal...to Heaven. I step through.


    Heaven is pretty. It is also full of islands floating in the air. One has to wonder how one travels from one to the other.

    Worryingly, the Forest Shadow's followers are all half-naked.


    Not a furry. Honest.

    Heaven is also where I pick up yet another party member. Unlike the rest, however, this one does not offer his services in combat. He is a tradesman and only appears when I wish to sell or buy something. His name is Zin Bu the Magic Abacus and he was part of the celestial bureaucracy. His job had been to record, tabulate, and itemize the destruction I caused, but I've recently been so much trouble that he's been unable to keep up with me, and so he's been demoted to trade and commerce.

    It appears that even this Heaven is not safe from the taint of the Great Mother. Demons materialise everywhere and when I finally reach the Forest Shadow it is to find her and her guardian battling vicious horse demons.


    The Forest Shadow's guardian is an elephant demon named Shining Tusk.


    I speak to the Forest Shadow and it transpires that events are indeed as I expected. She apologises for having attacked me earlier, explaining that she believed me to be another of the cannibals.


    I say I will defeat the Great Mother. The Forest Shadow says that she can open up a portal to the cannibal caves, and so I leave.


    The Mother's lair is grim - full of roasting human flesh and rotting corpses. I dispatch a few more cannibals.

    The way the light filters through the caves is pretty, however.


    The Mother herself is a gigantic creature strongly resembling a large pug dog.


    The Black Whirlwind and I gaze up at the Mother.


    The Mother takes a swipe...


    The Black Whirlwind and Henpecked Hou fight off the remaining cannibals while I run round and pummel the columns holding up the ceiling. The Mother herself is too large for me to fight, but if I can just bring the roof of the cave in on her...


    The Black Whirlwind's axe goes into the head of a cannibal.


    Success! I kill her by bringing the roof down upon her head. The Black Whirlwind, Henpecked Hou and I barely manage to escape in time.

    All I need to do now is return to Lord Yun and give him the good news.


    Lord Yun realises that he should never have doubted the Forest Shadow, and I suspect that relations between them will be better in future.

    He didn't forget his promise, and he's had a copy of his wind map made for me. I thank him; making a copy of such a valued item in these troubled times could cause serious problems for him if the wrong people get to hear of it. He's taken quite a risk...but then I suppose I nearly died, too.

    Now all I need is a flyer!

    Oh, and it'd help if I could find that missing piece of the amulet, too.

    Minister Sheng back in Tien's Landing might know where I could find a flyer. Pirates have been plaguing the town recently, following the orders of...Gao the Greater. That's the father of the late Gao the Lesser. We know Gao the Greater has flyers because he sent several to attack Two Rivers. The only problem lies in reaching the pirate lair, which is across the water.

    I find a capable sailor in the tea-house. His name is Ru the Boatswain and when he has a few drinks in him he has enough courage to consider taking me to the pirate's lair by boat. I agree to meet him down by the docks, and sure enough we are soon on our way.


    I manage to land without attracting the attention of the pirates on the bridge.

    See the pirate lurking behind the tree on my right? Turns out the old cur is on my side. He explains that the pirate tradition was once a fairly honourable one; now they all run slaving errands for Gao the Greater. None of the young ones know how to fight or have any shred of common decency.

    After being bossed around like a common slave he's ready to bring down a suspended cannon on the other pirates' heads, but that would mean he kills an innocent - the slave currently sweeping the docks. Instead I offer to kill the pirates myself.


    The bridge is soon clear of pirates, and I tell the slave who was working here to run as far away as he can.

    The old pirate is pleased to discover that I am an able fighter, and gives me more valuable information.


    So Gao the Greater is here in person, hmm?


    Lim's a Lotus Assassin. He's been working as a liaison between Gao and Gao's men and the Lotus Assassins under the rule of Grand Inquisitor Jia.

    I figure that Lim is probably the Lotus Assassin I met earlier in the ruins of Old Tien's Landing; the one who ran away when he discovered I'd found out the password to the dam entrance and who stole part of my amulet off Chai Ka. As for Grand Inquisitor Jia, she must be the lady in the mask who oversaw the destruction of Two Rivers.

    I head up the stairs to the next level.

    After battling more pirates I reach a room where the slaves are being held. But someone is already way ahead of me.


    He notices me and calls upon my aid in his battle with the slavers.


    I help him finish off the marauding pirates and then he introduces himself.


    Indeed we do! Good to meet you, Sky.

    One of the slaves we just help rescue recognises me.


    I do remember her. Not even a day has passed yet by my reckoning, lady!

    Obviously she and her daughter did not fare too well in the wilderness. They were captured and brought here and now she doesn't know where her daughter is. I promise to find her and rescue her.

    Fortunately she hasn't been taken very far. I free her from Lun the slaver and return her to her mother.


    A little cash is always nice. emot_shobon.gif

    Sky sticks around to help me gain access to Gao's workshop and the upper levels of the pirate lair. The door has been created in such a way that it requires two people to open it. I am glad to have his assistance.

    The next building is occupied. I peer through the cracks in the walls and spy a couple of Lotus Assassins and Gao the Greater communicating with Grand Inquisitor Jia through use of a hologram.


    Grand Inquisitor Jia herself.

    Gao the Greater is informed of his son's death, and runs off to his private quarters to grieve. It's time for me to enter the room and dispatch the remaining Lotus Assassins and pirates.

    I have unexpected help from a rather crazily-dressed man in the corner of the room. He sees me approaching and lobs an explosive at the Lotus Assassins. They're engulfed in flames and die almost instantly. I, in my turn, kill the remaining pirates.


    The man introduces himself. That is now two people who have offered me assistance without first wanting to kill me. Must be some kind of record.

    But wait, isn't he in the employ of Gao the Greater?

    He is, but he's not happy. He's quite willing to help me steal Gao the Greater's specially commissioned flyer, which Kang doesn't believe Gao will put to good use. He doesn't need to question my motives at all; he's ready to put his flyer straight into my hands!

    Up I go to the pirate workshop.

    Through one of the doors leading out of the flyer's hangar is found an elephant demon guarding Gao the Greater's treasure. I defeat him and take the treasure for myself.


    I finally reach Gao the Greater's office at the very top of the mountain. I have little to say to either him or Lim before I kill them both and retrieve the second part of my amulet. Gao the Greater is the man in blue; he puts up about as much of a fight as his son did.


    As soon as I kill Gao the Greater, Sky rushes in, and expresses his sorrow that he wasn't the one able to do it. It appears that Gao was the man who gave the orders for his five-year-old daughter to be kidnapped three years earlier. His daughter Pinmei resisted her attackers and was killed, and Sky has been seeking revenge ever since.


    Now that Sky's personal quest has ended, he requests to join my party. Dawn Star raises some doubts...


    Oh, he's such a flirt!

    Now I have the second missing piece of my amulet, a wind map, and a flyer. Back downstairs in the workshop Kang the Mad is waiting by the flyer, which is named the Marvellous Dragonfly.

    We take the flyer back to Tien's Landing.


    Once we pick up the rest of my party, we can set off for Imperial City!


    But Chapter 2's not ended just yet.

    Upon landing, I'm immediately stopped by two soldiers who have been given orders to question anyone who looks like, well, me. Seems that my exploits haven't gone unnoticed.


    However, before things come to a head, Princess Sun Lian the Heavenly Lily herself intervenes. Wait a moment...I recognise those eyes! It's Silk Fox! I can just picture her veil now...


    She commands the guards to leave me alone, saying that I am here on personal business with her. Surely they were not suspicious of me?


    I'm in Imperial City and I'm free to go where I please.

    I'm one step closer to finding Master Li...

    Better quality versions of the images in this post can be found here

    Janson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    Now you're assuming I can do the merchant's quests D:



    I'm afraid I can't help you with those. Never had much problems with them. 'Course, I only played them on Easy.

    On an unrelated note,
    Have you ever been incredibly rude to Princess Lian during your first meeting just after landing in the Imperial City?

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Haha, yes I have. It's so worth it. I'll have to take screenshots of that conversation and bring them in to work; it'd be a shame to leave them out.

    Janson on
  • Options
    YesNoMuYesNoMu Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Nice updates! About how far through the game are you now?

    YesNoMu on
  • Options
    BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    The only merchant quest I had problems with was the first one. I ended up just avoiding most ships there.

    The rest of them should be pretty easy. Just stay in the middle and keep shooting as fast as you can.

    Of course, I am terrible at Shmups, so I just put it to easy.

    Blackjack on

    3DS: 1607-3034-6970
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Chapters 1 and 2 probably make up about a third of the game. Chapter 3 is about a third on its own, and Chapters 4-7 make up the final third. It's really not a very long game; a complete playthrough (including all side-quests) takes about 22-24 hours.

    I'll have another go at that merchant quest, although I already was on easy.

    Chapter 3

    Chapter 3 is primarily concerned with fleshing out characters and running errands for people in Imperial City. The City itself is perhaps a little disappointing; the area you can explore is no larger than Tien's Landing, and decidedly less pretty. Still, it's a fun chapter and there is plenty to do.

    Princess Lian, a.k.a. Silk Fox, wishes to meet me in the Scholar's Garden. But I have to travel through the city centre to get there, so instead I take a few moments to put my feet up and chat with Dawn Star. She's feeling a bit upset at having lost her home, so I reassure her by telling her I'll always be there for her.


    The women are so easy. Pay them a compliment here and there and they'll be all over you. Almost.

    As you've already seen, tales of my exploits have reached Imperial City. But, as with most tales, they've grown in the telling. A Lotus Assassin is out on the streets, giving the people a description of me:


    Well, I am bare-chested...


    Rawr! Watch out, children!

    I speak to the equivalent of the town crier, and find out where my services might be required in the city. I learn that champions are always needed in the Imperial Arena; that Captain Sen has hired mercenaries for a couple of bounties but that they have not yet arrived; that the Black Leopard school is troubled; and that the dead have been causing problems in the Necropolis.

    First, however, I ought to go and see Princess Lian/Silk Fox in the Scholar's Garden. If I'm to start wooing her, I'd best get her in my party without any delay.

    As I am walking through the upper-class district on my way to the garden, I am hurled a barrage of insults by a servant in the streets.


    Look, they haven't invented toothpaste yet, okay? emot_frown.gif

    I'm not easily offended, though. I stand my ground and demand to know why he insults me so.


    His master explains that, as I was undeterred by simple words, I am exactly the kind of person they are looking for.

    It appears they've been having problems with a stranger to our lands - an Outlander. He's been carrying on in a most unsatisfactory way and has been stirring the ire of almost everyone around him; but no one can persuade him to leave. I might be the man for the job.


    The upper-class district is perhaps nicer in person. Those lanterns provide a soft glow which complement the evening skies well. There are many people milling about and the streets are well-paved and clean.


    At the top of the hill is the Scholar's Garden, where I meet her highness. In the two minutes it's taken me to get here she's already changed into her Silk Fox guise; a remarkable feat for any woman.


    She explains why she lives a double life.

    She also explains what she'd like from me. It turns out that her father, the Emperor, has been cold and distant these past few years, and she's growing increasingly concerned with the way he chooses to rule his Empire. She, too, is perturbed by the dead walking and the rumours of villagers and workers going missing. She feels that Death's Hand is deceiving her father - surely her own father must be ignorant of all that is going on!


    She has heard of an army of golems being constructed, and her fear is that Death's Hand plans to use them to seize power. The idea is that I will infiltrate the Lotus Assassin fortress and find evidence of these dastardly plans which I can then present to the Emperor.

    Silk Fox is beautiful and charming and surprisingly modest for a member of the royal family - but she still has a decent sense of her own self-worth, and she figures that I could probably use her help. So she finally agrees to join my party. I raise my concerns; surely her absence will be noted? Not so, says the princess, who explains that it's not unusual for her to disappear from public view for months at a time.


    The Scholar's Garden is full of...floating rocks.

    So, how will I infiltrate the Lotus Assassin Fortress? The Princess has given me two options. One way is to ask Scholar Dongow privately about the Inquisitors. The other is to win fights in the Imperial Arena and attract the attention of the Executioners. I shall do both; but first I shall speak to Scholar Dongow.

    Scholar Dongow is found in the very next room. I mention the Inquisitors and he hisses at me to keep my voice down. He then explains that yes, he can put me in contact with them, but that they already know of me, and that I probably didn't need to contact him at all.

    I return to the camp. The others remark that Sky has left and has been skulking around, and soon he returns with some news.


    I've been five minutes in the city and yet it seems that I'm already a renowned character! I at least have to admire the way the Inquisitors are so on top of current events. Their name is well-earned.


    The Inquisitors require me to complete a task for them to prove that I am worthy. Our dear friend Minister Sheng from Tien's Landing has come to the city to meet Minister Fang and hand over a report. The report is not one that the Inquisitors wish to see fall into the hands of Minister Fang. However, they require discretion and do not want to see either Minister killed. Phew! This will allow me to complete a task for the enemy without giving into evil temptation.

    In this way it can be very easy to complete Chapter 3. The Inquisitor quest is a short one and probably takes no longer than ten minutes of game time to complete. All that's left after that is to actually infiltrate the Lotus Assassin fortress.

    But of course I won't be so hasty. I've waited twenty years to visit the city; I'm in no desire to immediately hand myself over to the enemy. I'll certainly keep the Inquisitor quest in mind but shall take my time about it.

    Perhaps it is the buzz I get from being in the big city, or perhaps it is knowing that the Lotus Assassins fear me; either way I'm feeling a certain joie de vivre and I'm ready and willing to be playful with and towards almost anyone. Dawn Star's certainly noticed the change in me.


    I'm obviously a late bloomer.

    Silk Fox isn't feeling quite so happy. She expresses her indignation at how much power Death's Hand has managed to acquire over the past few years.


    She reveals some of the backstory to Death's Hand and the Lotus Assassins. The Lotus Assassins were once a peaceful order of monks, called, unsurprisingly, the Lotus Monks. They assisted the Emperor in ways that far from resembled the violent and cruel ways of the Assassins. The change came after the Emperor accepted Death's Hand into his family, appointing him in charge in place of a relative.

    The worst thing, though, is that if Death's Hand's influence continues to grow, the Emperor may feel forced to make his initiation into the Imperial family official - by offering his hand in marriage to Sun Lian herself.

    I agree with her that that would never do! Princess Sun Lian is too radiant and lovely to be tied to such a monster. She is popular amongst her people; they must surely recognise her genuine and generous spirit.


    I press further with my flattery.


    Out of the goodness of my heart I agree to let the conversation drop for the time being. I have embarrassed her highness; that is enough for me.

    Sagacious Zu, however, is ever the sourpuss, and knows just how to ruin my joyous mood. He says that Death's Hand's power is not that of a mortal being, and he seems afraid that I could end up turning to the dark side - I mean, traversing along the 'Closed Fist' path.


    I don't exactly have a choice, here.


    Just outside the landing area I find Captain Sen. His mercenaries still haven't arrived, so I offer to take their place. I'm given two bounties; one is Creative Yukong, a con artist, and the other is Fading Moon, an arsonist. Fading Moon sounds particularly nasty - she started several major fires in the poor district. Creative Yukong apparently conned money out of Lord Rento's wife.


    I'll note those down in my little black book and will take them into custody if I happen upon either of them.

    Before I carry on with either the Inquisitors' or the Executioners' quests, I decide that it might be in my best interests to complete a few tasks for the general public first. Build up my popularity. So I return to the Scholar's Garden.


    Let me explain. This is Incisive Chorus, a playwright. His play is due to perform shortly, but an actor is missing. He requires an actor - but not just any actor. He requires an actor who will stick to his original script. The sponsor of the play changed a couple of key lines in order to poke fun at the Empire. The changes are subtle, but if word were to get out...

    So of course I agree to help. It's a good thing, too, as someone has already alerted the Lotus Assassins:


    My part requires me to play a woman. I am appraised by the producer and he remarks that my shoulders are a little broader than he'd like, but that I should pass muster with few problems.

    I spend a few moments studying the script before I feel that I am ready to begin. The lines are simple enough and there aren't very many of them.


    I am on the right, in pink. Isn't my outfit darling?


    I do not simply pass muster; I am fantastic. I give a tremendous performance and the Lotus Assassins walk away, unsatisfied. The producer tells me that he always preferred Incisive Chorus's script, anyway.

    I also meet an interesting beggar in the Golden Way:


    I love how I look ever-so-slightly startled, here.

    Now, onto the earlier problem of the Outlander. I can find him in the Scholar's Garden.

    Here is Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard:


    Charming chap, isn't he?

    First of all he challenges me to a debate. Five judges, six rounds. At the end of the debate I have to have won most of the judges to my side. Each judge is persuaded by one or two forms of argument, but also turned off by one.

    With a little logical deduction, the debate is easily won. In fact, I've won all five judges over to my side after just three rounds, so the debate ends early.


    That isn't enough for the Outlander. He requires that I also beat him in combat. This is hardly fair, as his combat consists of using his trusty old blunderbuss, Mirabelle. Still, a little blood never hurt me, and I manage to defeat him soundly in that, too.


    He promises to leave, and I am granted a reward by the Minister of Culture.

    I talk to a few of the scholars and philosophers in the garden. One of them is named Scholar Kongyu, but his appearance arouses suspicion in Sky. Sky asks me if he may ask Kongyu a question, and I give him permission.


    Where on earth did that come from, Sky?




    Scholar Kongyu breaks down and admits that he's Creative Yukong. However, he also swears blind that he's innocent of having committed any crimes. Lady Rento had promised to sponsor him for a play, only she forgot to inform Lord Rento of her decision and Lord Rento had jumped to conclusions.

    I decide to believe him. After all, a real con artist would have done as Sky did and researched his part a little more thoroughly. I promise to help sneak him past Captain Sen.

    We return to Captain Sen with Yukong in the guise of a merchant. I swear to Captain Sen that Yukong has already left the city, and that it is pointless to let the bounty remain. Captain Sen is dubious - how on earth would anyone manage to sneak past his guards? - but I am insistent. It is a good thing that at least I am convincing, because Yukong reveals himself to be the most idiotic prat I've ever seen. He is distracted by pretty ladies, trips on his own feet, and it's a wonder that he manages to get through the city gates at all.

    Next I go to the Black Leopard School. Incidentally this is the school that Student Wen (R.I.P.) from Chapter One attended.

    As I arrive, I hear some of the students squabbling. It seems that there are two masters at this school, Master Radiant and Master Smiling Hawk, and the students are divided as to whose tutelage is better.


    As you can probably surmise, Master Smiling Hawk prefers brute force whereas Master Radiant teaches harmony and wisdom.

    This is one of the clearest examples of the Open Palm/Closed Fist divide within the game.

    All I'm wishing to do is visit the school, yet no sooner have I stepped through the entrance gates than I am challenged to a fight by the conversing students. I handily defeat them all, and First Brother Kai - who, by the way, did not come to my rescue - apologises.


    That's not the only problem. Second Brother has disappeared, and there's a rumour floating around that Master Smiling Hawk killed him...

    My path is clear. I join the school as a pupil (hey, why not? With my level of skill this is sure to be little more than a momentary diversion) and quickly work my ways up the ranks by defeating Sixth Brother, Fifth Brother and Fourth Brother.


    The Black Leopard School quest always feels slightly rushed. Being given the option to join the school as a pupil is ever so slightly strange considering that your character is made to feel that it is absolutely imperative to infiltrate the Lotus Assassins and find Master Li as quickly as possible. It's then even stranger when you are able to defeat the school's top pupils so easy - there's no build-up or fanfare, just a single line conversation and a short fight and that's it, you're done.

    I become one of the school's star pupils and I've not even met the masters yet! But that's about to change. Once I win against Fourth Brother Third Brother takes me to meet Master Smiling Hawk.


    Grr! Furious Ming is angry!

    Typical Closed First teacher. I've never spoken to this man before and yet the first thing he can do is to request that I kill his rival merely because he thinks the school belongs to him by rights. No mention of motive or of a reward for me.

    Yet despite my defiance, Smiling Hawk does not kill me. Instead I am left to fight Third Brother.

    I defeat Third Brother, and there is no Second Brother to fight. First Brother then takes me to see Master Radiant.

    Master Radiant is a recluse; only First Brother has contact with him (and Second Brother used to, before his disappearance). I wonder how the other pupils feel about that; perhaps it's not so surprising after all that Smiling Hawk feels that he should be the school's only master. A master has to actually meet with his students in order to teach them.


    No wonder Master Radiant never leaves his room! It turns out that Master Smiling Hawk has learnt a dark technique which allows him to take the life from any person he chooses, along with any fighting techniques they know, with a flick of his finger. He killed Master Radiant one night while Radiant slept.

    Clearly there is only one correct course of action.


    I kill Master Smiling Hawk, and Master Radiant's ghost is able to pass on, but not before promoting First Brother Kai to the rank of master. I pass on my congratulations and leave; there's nothing more for me to do here.

    I don't feel too bad about not having been promoted myself, despite being the most skilful student and the one who actually solved the problem of the two masters. Radiant is kind enough to explain that my skills are better served elsewhere and that an important destiny awaits me; I have neither the patience nor the time required to make a good teacher.

    I leave the Black Leopard School and head back out onto the streets of the city.


    As I pass back through the central district, I can't help but notice that yet another poor soul requires my help. Prefect Jitong is being pressured to convict his friend, Scholar Songtao, of slave trading. Scholar Songtao is an exemplary man who helps the poor, however, so I can hardly let the conviction stand, can I? I have to find evidence against the other man accused, Chandler Ling. To do that I'd best speak to Xi Bao in the Imperial Arena.

    Silk Fox is not amused.


    Steady on, dear...I can't help my philanthropic nature!

    The Necropolis

    I journey into the Necropolis, the graveyard for Imperial City citizens. The guard at the gate tells me to beware and I ask him for how long the dead have been walking the streets.


    I know why, but I'm not about to divulge that information to anyone - I'd rather the common masses didn't panic.


    Just inside the Necropolis I'm attacked by three ghosts, who I easily defeat.

    I talk to gravedigger Shen and, seeing how expertly I dispatched the ghosts, he gives me the task of dealing with three more troublesome ghosts. Silk Fox really isn't going to be happy!

    Before I deal with those three ghosts, I enter a random tomb and come across a scientist named Wen Zhi. He's there with his dying daughter, who requires a new liver. The problem is that he needs a fresh or well-preserved liver, and none of the bodies he's managed to find so far have presented him with one. He's heard of a noble called Ji Xin who was buried nearby in a well-preserved state and believes that that could provide him with the type of liver he requires - but Ji Xin is vengeful and guards his tomb even in death.

    I go to Ji Xin's tomb and eliminate the couple of ghosts that are there before coming face-to-face with the preserved noble himself. Rather than resorting to violence, I manage to persuade him that by giving his liver to the little girl he would be able to atone for his sins and thus rest in peace.


    The little girl is healed, and I've done yet another good deed for the day.

    Now onto those pesky ghosts!


    The first is Miss Chan. She's lost her baby, and believes Gravedigger Shen may know where he is.

    The second is Merchant Bai, whose tormentors in life are now a causing problems for him also in death. They're buried too close to his own plot, in the Tomb of the Masses.

    I visit the Tomb of the Masses and lay the two bullies to rest. Then I visit Gravedigger Shen, who informs me that Miss Chan's baby died alongside her in childbirth. He did not take her baby, but instead buried him in the Chan family plot.

    Miss Chan says that she will believe me if I can show her the gravestone belonging to her son. I press her for more information and she says that she had been planning to name him after a close male relative. I find the gravestone of Chan Tao, named for his uncle, and this seems to satisfy her.


    Miss Chan, why are you lying on the ground?

    I have the problem of just one last ghost to solve. This is Master Ren, who prowls the graveyard hurling obscenities at his widow, who he believes poisoned him deliberately. After so many years of happy marriage, too!


    I run back to the central district and find Mistress Ren. She insists that is was bad fish that killed her husband, and that she regrets the decision to buy it terribly! She mourns him still, and is deeply unhappy that he cannot lie peacefully.


    Fortunately Master Ren isn't so insane in death that he cannot listen to my reasoning, and we reach an amicable conclusion for all concerned.


    Now all that remains is for me to return to Gravedigger Shen. First of all I help him put his late and not-so-dearly beloved mother-in-law back in the ground, and then I collect my reward for having completed my duties with regards to the three ghosts. Shen has just one last task left for me. One ghost actually walked of the Necropolis and took up residence with his family, who are now demanding a refund for the cost of the funeral and gravestone.

    I go and find Tanner Fong and inquire after his dead father.


    He tells me that he can be found inside, and so I enter the house.


    Upon speaking to Old Tanner Fong, I reach the conclusion that he is not actually dead at all! His son was just so tired of him that he had him buried alive! Such a gross indecency - yet with a few words I am able to solve all of their deep-rooted problems. Bless my silver tongue.

    Now, let's see. Apart from the Lotus Assassin quests, are there any loose ends left to tie up? Yes; for a start, I have to clear Songtao's name.

    I go and find Xi Bao in the Arena and pretend to be an ally of Chandler Ling. With a handful of silver I'm able to buy a meeting with the head slave trader.


    Such empty threats! He and his cronies are killed quickly enough and I now have slaver documents which both exonerate Songtao and condemn Chandler Ling.

    The slave trader's expressions are amusing; and one eye appears to roll back into his head on occasion. Maybe it's a glass eye?.

    Whilst I'm in the Imperial Arena, I set about poking around Minister Fang's affairs. Tales of his dirty and nasty exploits are common in Imperial City; I might be able to humiliate him somehow and prevent Minister Sheng from handing over that report, thus completing my objective for the Inquisitors.

    I can't talk to Fang himself - he's too busy watching the games. But his whore is available. She's sick and tired of Fang and his outrageous requests. I suggest that we may be able to bring him down somehow...


    No, I'm not sure I'm prepared to go that far to get his notice.


    She has another suggestion. Fang has a ring that he uses to stamp every document that passes through his hands. If he were to lose it - say, whilst dallying with a common prostitute - he could be shamed into resigning.

    Gentle Breezes (for that is her name) would prefer me to kill him, but I only want to disgrace him. She'd have to run for her life after assisting me, so I give her a little bribe of 900 silver coins with which to ease her mind. From then on it's up to her.


    Once I have his ring, I go to confront him about it.


    At first he mistakes me for yet another whore:


    How presumptuous! No. I show him the ring, and he's 'persuaded' into signing a letter of resignation. But not before he warns me to watch my own back.


    Next post - I become Arena Champion!

    Janson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Ji Xin is kind of awesome. But then, I'm a sucker for redemption stories.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Chapter 3 - Arena Champion

    When I first entered the Imperial Arena, I witnessed a fighter being thrown down the stairs and chucked out of the competition. So I know that a new fighter will need to be recruited. Sure enough, all I have to do is talk to the Qui the Promoter and he becomes extremely excited.


    The idea of proving my worth as a fighter and gaining a few fans along the way appeals to me. I pick the fighting name 'Raging Dragon' as I feel that describes me well. Raging is a synonym for 'Furious' and I have a dragon tattoo on my back.


    Qui is a rather unique man. I attempt to correct his English at first, but he merely expresses his disappointment that I am unable to understand the grand words he is using thanks to my all-too-backward upbringing.

    The first fight:


    It goes well, and from there I quickly climb through and complete the qualifying rounds. The champion of the qualifying rounds, Hapless Han, is very good-natured and wishes me well for the future.

    After I've beaten the qualifying round, two things happen.


    The first is that I am told that I have attracted the attention of a former champion, Kai Lan the Serpent. He's working on behalf of the Guild - the same organisation that Gao the Greater was a part of. People in the Arena, including Qui, appear a little afraid of the Guild and the influence it wields. I should tread carefully.

    The second is that Black Whirlwind enters the scene. He's heard I've started fighting in the Arena and has come running. Qui instantly recognises him. Apparently Black Whirlwind used to fight here, too, and Qui wonders if he might being partaking again.


    The Black Whirlwind seems strangely resistant to the opportunity to show off his skills.

    Now I'm in the Bronze Division.


    The first few fights are easy enough, even though Kai Lan sneaks in a substitution at one point.


    Instead of the fighter I was due to face, I am forced to fight a toad demon. I grumble to Qui about this, who promises that I shall be forewarned in future.

    The champion of the Bronze Division is a foreign lady named Crimson Khana. But before I fight her, I am approached by Lucky Cho, Kai Lan's representative.

    He explains that Crimson Khana is becoming a problem to the Guild, and that she needs to be eliminated. He wants to give her a slow-acting poison before the match, so that I can easily defeat her. He even has Sweet Poison Lyn, a poisoner (as if you couldn't guess) on hand ready to do as he asks. Naturally I want an honest match and say that I'll have nothing to do with his dastardly scheme.

    I'm so honourable that I even inform Crimson Khana of what the Guild had planned for her.


    She thanks me for informing her, and says that if I manage to defeat her, she shall teach me her most valued fighting style.


    Another champion is easily beaten. I've won the Bronze Division, and Crimson Khana follows up on her word. She does have this to say, however:


    Interesting. That I have a flaw in my fighting style has been mentioned several times in the past, in Tien's Landing and elsewhere. I ask her why she did not take advantage of this opening, and she says that it seemed almost to be a trick - as if intending to throw my enemy off guard.


    Whatever it is, I have little time to worry about it now. I'm into the Silver Division!

    Sagacious Zu has something to say about the champion of this division:


    Excellent! That means the crowd are going to be even more pleased when he is defeated.

    This is also my first opportunity to face Imperial Army golems.


    They're slow and crumble surprisingly easily beneath my blade.

    Before I move onto my fight with Iron Soldier, I finally speak with Kai Lan himself. Despite me not agreeing to poison Crimson Khana, he still seems interested in attempting to win me over to his ways.


    I inform him that I was the one who killed Gao the Greater; but if anything this just seems to impress him further.

    He also asks me if I realise just who Black Whirlwind is. I answer that whatever his past, he's a friend of mine now.

    Kai Lan rattles off a list of The Black Whirlwind's previous accomplishments:


    Black Whirlwind used to be such a pleasant fellow!

    Once again I repeat that I care little for who Black Whirlwind is, and that I shall not sully myself by working for the Guild. I am about to listen to further protestations when Black Whirlwind himself storms in.


    He yells at Kai Lan and drags me off downstairs to the pits, where he gives me an explanation for his behaviour.


    He explains that Kai Lan is ruthless and dangerous. He has brought disrepute to the Arena. He and his younger brother used to fight here, until his brother became sponsored by the Guild and thereafter mysteriously started winning every fight. During the night his brother would stalk the streets, masked, carrying out unsavoury deeds for Kai Lan - deeds that made even Black Whirlwind himself shudder. His brother became the reigning Arena Champion, and Black Whirlwind was far from happy. One night, in a drunken rage, he lunged at Kai Lan - but his brother intervened and died instead.


    Just as I am listening to this sad but not wholly surprising tale - Black Whirlwind also killed his abusive father when young - Lucky Cho interrupts.


    Together, Black Whirlwind and I kill Lucky Cho.

    Kai Lan, upon discovering Lucky Cho's body, shows no emotion, but merely feeds him to the cannibals:


    I do defeat Iron Soldier, and am finally in to the Gold Division.

    I race through the first three rounds, which include one battle where I face ten enemies in quick succession. Now I am to face the current Arena Champion - the Ravager.


    We're lowered down in cages amidst a burst of flames.


    Before I fight, Kai Lan tries to persuade the crowd that I am not yet worthy. But the crowd adore me, naturally, and, chanting my name, Kai Lan is forced to secede to them.

    The Ravager is tough, but nothing I cannot defeat. As he falls, however, his mask falls off and...

    ...he's Black Whirlwind's brother, the Raging Ox, only resurrected from death to act as Kai Lan's puppet. Furious, Black Whirlwind bursts into the ring...


    ...and kills his brother, once and for all.

    Kai Lan then invokes the right of past champions and demands that I defeat him in order to truly be crowned Arena Champion. Black Whirlwind, however, begs to fight him in place of me, in order to have peace of mind. Kai Lan is outraged at this suggestion, but Qui informs him that he has made substitutions before and that it would be only fair.


    Kai Lan is killed, Black Whirlwind has his revenge, and I am the new Arena Champion.

    The Executioners' representative approaches me, and informs me that I have also passed their test. I have now made doubly-sure of being able to enter the Lotus Assassin fortress.


    They're also aware of my followers - that shall make it that much easier to have them accompany me.


    Sweet Poison Lyn also requires a word with me. It seems that all this time she was acting as an agent for the Guild, and she thanks me for having dealt with Kai Lin, who had been dragging the Guild down. I do not approve of the Guild, but she offers a truce and I accept.


    The Guild will withdraw from the Arena and the slave trade for now.

    Janson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Actually, it's not Kai Lin, it's Kai Lan.

    And it's kinda worrying how much that little nitpick bothered me.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Ji Xin is kind of awesome. But then, I'm a sucker for redemption stories.

    He's strangely sweet, even with all the flies buzzing around his undead head.

    Well, I am internet-less for the weekend, so I hope these two updates suffice for now! As usual, I feel like I've rushed certain areas, so if anyone would like to request that I go over some of the quests or conversations in more detail I shall certainly try to accommodate your wishes. I sometimes struggle to balance the ratio of screenshots to text.

    Anyone have any romance preferences? The write-up I have all ready incorporates the threesome between Ming, Silk Fox and Dawn Star, but I also have all the material necessary for the Sky romance.

    I'll try to complete Kang the Mad's side-quest, too.
    Actually, it's not Kai Lin, it's Kai Lan.

    And it's kinda worrying how much that little nitpick bothered me.

    Oops, well spotted.

    I'll edit. Sorry, I normally double-check every name, too emot_frown.gif

    Janson on
  • Options
    SudsSuds Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    You can get with Sky?

    And you can get a three-some going?


    Suds on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    Anyone have any romance preferences? The write-up I have all ready incorporates the threesome between Ming, Silk Fox and Dawn Star, but I also have all the material necessary for the Sky romance.
    Personally, I vote for Sky.

    Or Closed Fist Dawn Star.

    But not the threesome. I think I would've liked it more if
    everybody actually stayed together.

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Suds wrote: »
    You can get with Sky?

    And you can get a three-some going?


    Hell yeah! :winky:

    Bioware are pretty progressive when it comes to romances in RPGs; they've just been constricted in the past by not owning IP to the universes their games were based in (D&D, Star Wars).

    They do refrain from showing quite as much in the non-conventional romances (i.e. fade out to black right before the characters kiss) but otherwise the scripting and flirting is pretty much equal and no doubt is left in your mind as to what happens behind the scenes.

    EDIT: I have no complaints with Sky. He's actually as dashing in game as his character description says he is. Female players may have been screwed over in BG2, but overall I think Bioware are much better at writing male romance options than female romance options.

    Janson on
  • Options
    SirsonSirson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Nice thread, havn't played this game since like the first couple weeks after it came out for the Xbox. Some of the screen shots are so pretty. Does the PC game add much to the original? I may have to pick this up on steam or something.

    Sirson on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Sirson wrote: »
    Nice thread, havn't played this game since like the first couple weeks after it came out for the Xbox. Some of the screen shots are so pretty. Does the PC game add much to the original? I may have to pick this up on steam or something.
    Don't really know. Not that much, I think. Some more weapons, gems, enemies. Nothing really drastic, I believe.

    Though from what I've heard, the gay romances are actually a little easier in the PC version because you don't have to explicitly dump the straight options first. :P

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Sirson wrote: »
    Nice thread, havn't played this game since like the first couple weeks after it came out for the Xbox. Some of the screen shots are so pretty. Does the PC game add much to the original? I may have to pick this up on steam or something.

    Thanks! It adds very little to the original; one new style, two new weapons and a new level of difficulty, if I remember correctly.

    However, I didn't own the original X-box version, and in the UK this PC special edition was released in a rather sexy tin (and for only £17.99), so I didn't hesitate to snatch it up.

    Despite the now dated graphics (not that I mind, but a surprising amount of people do) it really is quite pretty. The skies are gorgeous and the areas are varied.

    My only complaint is that while some of the video sequences have been redone at a higher resolution for the PC, not all have. So there's a mix of some great looking videos and some really quite poor looking videos.
    Though from what I've heard, the gay romances are actually a little easier in the PC version because you don't have to explicitly dump the straight options first.

    Nope, sadly this is not the case. I still had to be pretty mean to Dawn Star and Silk Fox to attract Sky's full attention.

    Janson on
  • Options
    WhiteZinfandelWhiteZinfandel Your insides Let me show you themRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Hey guys, I'm considering buying this game, but I've got a couple questions first. Is it similar to Kotor? I absolutely loved Kotor 1, so if it is, this is a definite buy.

    Also, what are the differences between the PC version and the Xbox version? Thanks in advance.

    WhiteZinfandel on
  • Options
    StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    It's very similar to kotor, only more linear and with action combat.
    The PC version is a lot prettier. I can't remember other differences.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
  • Options
    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    All the combat is real-time, so if you liked to pause and select moves in KOTOR, you might need to take some time to adjust.

    Overall though the game's not overly challenging and at the price it's at now, there's really no reason not to play it.

    DarkPrimus on
  • Options
    WotanAnubisWotanAnubis Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Janson wrote: »
    Though from what I've heard, the gay romances are actually a little easier in the PC version because you don't have to explicitly dump the straight options first.

    Nope, sadly this is not the case. I still had to be pretty mean to Dawn Star and Silk Fox to attract Sky's full attention.
    Well, it's just what I heard. Though I have been able to simply ignore Sky and still get with Silk Fox. Not being mean to him, not dumping him, but just not talking to him. I gathered somewhere that in the Xbox version that meant you got no romance at all.

    But perhaps I interrogated it from the wrong perspective. :P

    WotanAnubis on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Yes; very similar to KotOR1. In fact, you may even be disappointed initially because it's so similar. There's more than a few parallels in plot and story.

    WotanAnubis - oh, that may be the case :o I flirted with all three, so I was only coming from that perspective. You're probably right.

    I've blatantly managed to get online, so maybe I'll write another post.

    Janson on
  • Options
    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Chapter 3 - Taking a Break

    Okay, I'm all ready to head off to the Lotus Assassin fortress now, but I'd prefer to tie up a few loose ends first.

    (I fly back to Tien's Landing. I found a cameo portrait in the ruins that belongs to Old Wei; it's of his dead wife. I also collect my reward for the figurine that I earlier retrieved for a merchant.)

    Back in Imperial City and at the landing pad, various party members offer their concerns.


    Dawn Star is worried that I may be corrupted by the Lotus Assassins.

    I also learn more of Henpecked Hou's backstory.


    He used to be a fighting champion; an exemplary user of the drunken master style. However, this fighting style also required him to drink a lot, which in turn sapped up all of his money. Eventually he found a sponsor - but in return he was made to marry his sponsor's niece.


    She has a very strong idea of how her husband should behave, and will do anything to keep him in his place. Henpecked, indeed!

    Er...so does Hou have any children?


    I guess that would be a 'no', then.

    The Black Whirlwind is tired by my inaction.


    I think I can see where this is heading. The Black Whirlwind always loves to solve his problems in one of two ways: violence, and drink.


    I just look so horrified!

    But wait, I was planning to flirt with Sky, wasn't I?




    I certainly haven't made any obvious moves.


    Dawn Star's boring.




    I'll have more to say after the Lotus Assassin fortress.

    While we are speaking, Sagacious Zu disappears. He runs away. He has always been a bit reclusive and a loner; but so far he has been content to travel with me. What could he be up to?

    I've no time to think about it now. My party members aren't beholden to me; they can come and go as they please. Still, no one else has seen reason to leave my company.

    The entrance to the Lotus Assassin Fortress is in the Necropolis.

    As I make my way there, my attention is caught yet again by a couple of people requiring some assistance.

    First I have to report back to Captain Sen, as I had earlier found and killed the arsonist Fading Moon, who was utterly insane. I collect my reward and as I leave I pass by an old man. He says that there is another bounty out on a woman named Aishi the Mournful Blade, and that I should travel to the Black Leopard School to hear her tale.

    I find Aishi meditating at a shrine in the school, and I approach her from behind. She is all for killing me, until she turns around and comes face-to-face with me.


    Damn straight.

    I listen to her tale. As a girl she fell in love with a boy, but the boy was cruel and unusual. One day he pushed a child into a fast-flowing river and forbid Aishi from rescuing him, telling her that if he lived, he would only tell others what they had done. The drowning of that child deeply affected her and caused her to go on to commit greater crimes in life. The boy she loved, however, grew up to be Captain Sen - still as wicked and ruthless as he had ever been.

    She asks me to take her to Captain Sen so that she may finally settle her scores once and for all. I agree, and bring her to the Captain.

    Captain Sen comments that Aishi must be weak if I had managed to capture her so easily.


    After she has killed the Captain, she begs me to kill her in battle. I do as she wishes.

    Leaving the scene, I meet the old man again. He gives me a reward and his thanks. He says he is her father; but Aishi had told me that her father was dead.

    He wonders that I could not tell; but as a Spirit Monk I had seen him as clearly as I had any other person. It is only once he fades that the truth is realised.


    How has he managed to not turn mad?


    A very strong spirit with a purpose in death doesn't necessarily succumb to madness.

    Just one last task remains in the City. I overhear a man commanding a small, frightened girl to go into the Necropolis and fetch him an artefact. As I'm headed into the Necropolis anyway, I offer my help.


    I meet her inside the Necropolis and fight off the ghosts whilst she retrieves the item her master desired.

    The time has finally come to face the Lotus Assassin fortress.

    As I approach the building, I notice Sagacious Zu sneaking inside...

    Before I enter the building myself, Sky stops me.


    ...I'd been hoping for something more; but Sky's still a little reluctant to divulge his true feelings.
    Okay, just in case you want the threesome, this is how it goes.

    Silk Fox and Dawn Star will stop you, instead.

    Unable to choose between them, I continue to compliment them both.


    Having reassured Sky that I shall stay alive, I walk into the fortress.

    I'm not sure if I need this here, but:

    From now on the playthrough will be revealing who lives, who dies, and the two main plot 'twists' of the game.

    Just wanting to cover my bases. I haven't been using spoilers because I think it's self-evident that due to the nature of this topic, the game is going to be spoiled. It's either that or contain the last 4 chapters within spoiler tags.

    The Lotus Assassin Fortress

    The Lotus Assassin fortress is actually built into the current Emperor's (future) tomb, hence the entrance through the Necropolis. This allows it to remain concealed while having plenty of room in which to house acolytes (Emperors have extremely large tombs). Personally, I also think it gives the Lotus Assassins an excuse never to see sunshine, so that they can grow that lovely grey pallor of skin even more quickly.


    Other acolytes aren't at all happy that I've been recruited. It's bad enough that they already feel inferior to the golems; my presence is the last straw.


    I'm challenged to a duel. I kill my opponent, and this sends the other three running...for now.


    Hello, Sagacious Zu. Did you think I didn't see you sneaking ahead of me like that?

    He's being as cryptic as usual, and won't give anything away just yet. I ask whose side he is on, but he merely answers me by asking me whether any 'sides' exist at all.


    Really, I had no other choice. :x

    All new acolytes - for that is what I am - require a master. Someone to instruct them in the ways of the Lotus Assassins.


    This is my new master, Master Gang. Pleasant fellow, isn't he?

    Regarding KotOR1:
    This is one of the most obvious comparisons one can draw between this game and KotOR1. About halfway through the game you infiltrate the enemy base and (if you follow the 'good' path) obliterate everything in your path. Just as in KotOR1 your time here culminates in the roof caving in, rendering the fortress impassable.

    It turns out that he's lost several acolytes recently to a few ghosts in one of the side rooms. Unwilling to look after me just yet, he sends me in to eliminate the ghosts - or, rather, be eliminated by them.

    Well, obviously the Lotus Acolytes are a fairly useless bunch (although judging by how easily I killed them back in Tien's Landing, we already knew this) because the ghosts are destroyed without me even breaking a sweat. I could've told Master Gang that I'd already faced a dozen or so of the same thing just this morning.

    Master Gang is duly impressed and decides I shall become his new favourite.


    Now, this is perhaps the only part of the story that becomes truly ludicrous:
    • Of course there has to be a way for me to skip the usual initiation for acolytes, which consists of several weeks of meditating and the breaking down of one's spirit and systematic torture. Otherwise I'd end up all scarred and grey-skinned, and that would never do. Getting rid of a few pesky ghosts hardly seems to put me above every other acolyte out there, considering how specialist and elitist the Lotus Assassins are supposed to be - not to mention how tough their entry requirements are.
    • Sagacious Zu keeps popping up here and there. Now, I can believe that he managed to sneak into the fortress and remain hidden, but how does he manage to talk to me in the centre of a room when there are dozens of Lotus Assassins about? It goes beyond even most game logic. Not to mention that my party members don't see or acknowledge him at all.
    Anyway, what are these two tasks that Master Gang would have me do?


    The first is to create a spirit shard. They have what is called a 'soul extractor' room, which contains a gigantic machine that crushes the life out of a slave - but not without a healthy amount of torture beforehand - and reforms the soul (or life essence) in the shape of a crystal. These crystals are what power the golems. The Lotus Assassins used to create shards from regular corpses, but these were too unstable and the golems were not so easily controlled.


    I am to create a spirit shard of exceptional quality with which a jade golem can be created. A jade golem is an especially large golem that acts as a control centre for several of the regular-sized golems.

    The second is to eliminate Master Gang's superior, Master Shin. Master Shin has been making Master Gang do all of his work for him, while keeping his acolytes weak and generally pushing him around. It's dog eat dog in the Lotus Assassin world; only the fittest survive.


    Before I carry out my tasks, however, I seek further training at Master Gang's request. He doesn't think I need it, but there's no harm in finding out.


    I beat his current trainer, and am ordered to take her position. I'm now the person in charge of training Master Shin's acolytes. The now ex-trainer says she is secretly relieved; trainers have the shortest lives of all in the fortress. She also mentions the same flaw in my fighting style that Crimson Khana and a few others did.


    Unfortunately, all of Master Shin's acolytes incur fatal injuries during their training sessions with me. One by one they all die. What a shame! Master Shin has no acolytes left!

    I also say hello to the Keeper of the Archives.


    She tells me the tale of The Exile, a Lotus Assassin who rejected his commands to kill an innocent family, and who now wanders the earth, killing any Assassin he happens upon, a silent, skilled hunter who is never to be found. I wonder who that could be.
    It's Sagacious Zu, in case you've not played the game. I haven't given much screen time to Zu after all.

    My first task: Make that spirit shard!

    Sagacious Zu once again appears out of nowhere.


    He suggests that I can corrupt the spirit shard, thus hindering the progress of the Lotus Assassins while also completing my task for Master Gang. All I have to do is to go down to the lowest reaches of the Extraction Chamber and explore the abandoned mine there. Sounds like a plan!

    I step inside the Extraction Chamber, where the rather eager acolyte at the helm explains how the creation of these golems glorifies the Emperor, much to Silk Fox's annoyance.


    She is still steadfast in her belief that her father is innocent. To be fair, I'd probably believe the same thing about my own father. If I had one.

    I go down to the lowest reaches of the mines and come across an exposed coffin, guarded by the ghost of a furious horse lord. The same horse lord, in fact, that my ancestors, Spirit Monks of previous generations, helped a past Emperor to kill. I learned his name and story in the archives room.


    Now I not only have the body of a twisted and insane individual to create a corrupt shard with, but I've also proven my worth to Sagacious Zu. The ghost recognised that I was a Spirit Monk and that was why he attacked me; he would not have bothered with me if I were anything else. I've also shown Zu that I'm still determined to destroy the Lotus Assassins.

    I go back to the Extraction Chamber and create my shard.


    She is a witness to my activities; so I kill her. Yet another acolyte bites the dust.

    On my way up to the highest level, I call in at the prison to free the slaves that are there. They can escape through one of the lower mines, where a crack in the earth's surface was allowing light through. The path was too narrow for me to get through, but I am healthy and muscular and these slaves are thin and undernourished.


    Now I can get on with my second task.

    I walk to the Golem Press Room to see if I can learn anything that would be of use in my second task. Once again, Sagacious Zu appears out of nowhere with a suggestion for me.


    Does he think that nobody can see him? Why doesn't Silk Fox say something?!

    This is where materials are combined and then poured into a mold in order to create body of the golem. The machinery is heavy and looks dangerous. The arm that collects each freshly-cast golem and places it on the ground is operated by an acolyte who, if they are not careful, may very well end up releasing the arm early and dropping the golem, causing it to smash. In fact, as I enter the room, an accident of this kind very nearly occurs.


    Perhaps this is how I could kill Master Shin?

    I talk to the acolyte behind the controls and glean some information from him on the subject of jade golems.


    Then I take a moment or two to have a go with the controls myself. I create a golem and use the mechanical arm to position it above the walkway.

    I return to Master Gang and suggest that we could kill Master Shin in the Golem Press Room. The only problem with my plan is that Master Shin never enters that room. No matter, I say - I can kill Master Shin first and then place his body where I like in order to stage an accident! Master Gang reluctantly agrees, but since the best place to kill Master Shin would be the main hall upstairs, I had better make sure that there is no one around to witness Master Shin's death.

    Part one, then, is to clear the hall of witnesses.

    In one corner of the hall, three Lotus Assassins are discussing the efficiency of the golems. Since a slave has to die for each one to be created, the production line is often very slow. One amongst them believes that they would be better off summoning spirits.


    I watch as he attempts to summon spirits. He utters a spell in some dark tongue and the life force is sucked from his friends, their bodies replaced by psychotic flame spirits. I help him defeat them, and, frightened, he flees.

    Also in the hall is a merchant who, upon talking with him, I discover is related to my old classmate, Kia Min.


    With the knowledge that I am a family friend, and a few hints at an imminent change in power, the merchant is persuaded to move his wares downstairs.

    Two people remain. Two Lotus Assassins responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Golem Press.


    They describe how the golem press was created.


    I hear them discussing Phoenix Oil, a necessary component of the machine but one that must be used sparingly.

    I wonder what would happen if I were to use too much?...

    I run downstairs and ask the merchant for some Phoenix Oil. I return to the Golem Press Room, and, hinting again at brewing trouble, convince the acolyte operator to abandon the controls. Then I add my Phoenix Oil and...whoops, the press is broken.


    I regretfully inform the two Assassins that their skills are required elsewhere.

    The hall is now cleared. Master Shin will be coming here soon to receive his shipment of slaves. I must stop that shipment from reaching the fortress and being witness to my plans. Time to run outside!


    I take Sky with me as I know how Sky feels about the slave trade. He and I are tragically forced to kill the Lotus Assassins in charge of the shipment and free all the slaves.


    They are extremely relieved and I've scored some brownie points with Sky.


    Back to the hall to meet Master Shin. He's not best pleased.


    'Where are my slaves?' He asks. I inform him that there will be no shipment today. Ah! He sees what I am up to. He knows that I serve Master Gang. No matter; he is killed quickly enough.


    I take his body to the Golem Press Room and...splat! The accident is staged.

    Master Gang comes to inspect my handiwork.


    Remember that golem I had placed above the walkway? I drop it down upon his head.

    Two masters killed. I guess I'll have to be the one to present the shard for the jade golem after all.

    Sagacious Zu comes to speak to me once more before I enter the inner chambers for the presentation ceremony.


    He has a secret to reveal.


    He was one of the party sent to kill Master Li's wife and child. He was reluctant to carry out orders, but in his hesitation Li's wife was killed anyway. Sagacious Zu fled with the child.


    Intriguing. This must be the same child, same female child, that was handed to Hui all those years ago.

    With this new information in the forefront of my mind, I enter the inner chambers.


    The presentation goes spectacularly. The jade golem with the corrupted shard inserted goes berserk, killing several Assassins before coming crashing to the ground.


    The noise attracts the attention of Grand Inquisitor Jia herself.


    ...other pieces? Does that mean she has one, the last one?

    She has some harsh words for the one Assassin still standing.


    I am ordered to be killed.

    Once again I've been underestimated. I dispatch the Assassins easily, and run after Jia.


    Wait a moment...you just said that your foundations would crumble!

    Jia as a character is surprisingly short lived. After she gives me this speech, she forces me into duelling with her and she, like the rest of those of the Lotus Order, succumbs with minimal difficulty to my blade.

    I can now retrieve the last part of my amulet...


    ...but I am blissfully unaware of Death's Hand's noiseless approach.

    Sagacious Zu, however, is on the scene. He yells 'LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!' and I turn just as Death's Hand is about to strike. I fall down the stairs, but am not killed.


    Sagacious Zu helps pick me off the floor and tells me to run. I am not yet strong enough to face Death's Hand. He will buy me time. Death's Hand recognises Zu - 'the Exile!' and a short fight ensues. Zu baits Death's Hand into striking a column, and, as Death's Hand plunges his blade into Zu's chest, the roof comes crumbling down...

    I run for my life. The whole tomb, the entire fortress, is collapsing.

    I still have to kill the remaining few Lotus Assassins, however. They'd rather stay and fight than save their own skins. They're dedicated; I have to give them that.


    As I exit the building, I find The Watcher, who had greeted me upon my entering the fortress in the first place, waiting for me.


    He attacks me, and my Lotus Assassin death tally rises once again.


    Silk Fox is perturbed.

    What she learned alongside me in the inner chambers was that her father is indeed the man behind it all.

    She doesn't like being wrong.

    Janson on
Sign In or Register to comment.