Part 3: Ghosts at the BeachEpisode 02: Ghosts at the Beach
Last time, we found out bandits are about to attack Two Rivers and were told to go get a weapon from Weapon Master Gujin in order to fight off those ruffians. Master Li also told us to take Dawn Star with us, so let's go to her house and talk to her.
I still think Jade Empire is a pretty nice-looking game, at least when it comes to the environments and art design. The character models were never that great, although they were still a step up from KotOR.
Dawn Star's house is right across this small bridge here. I'm not entirely sure where we (or the other students for that matter) live because the only actual buildings inside the school gates are Master Li's home and Dawn Star's place. Maybe everyone has houses in the town proper? This is probably the kind of thing you shouldn't think about too much.
(edit: Smiling Mountain's little practice area is surrounded by a few small houses, so I guess those might serve as dormitories)
Wait a minute. Is that...
oh goddammit Gao
His name is Gao the Greater, and he built a fortune out of some ragged thieves and slave traders. If my charm can't lift your spirit, I'll buy the ground from under you.
Flaunting your father's undeserved wealth does not impress me, Gao. It only serves to push me further away.
You step beyond your station. She and I are discussing her future.
Thank you, Gao, but I'll pick my own poison. Now leave, and, if you'd be so kind, stay downwind.
I won't forget this, Dawn Star. You show great disrespect. You, as well. You will not take all the glory if there is an attack. We are not through.
Well, I suppose I'd be angry all the time as well if my name had "the Lesser" attached to it.
MUSIC: Dawn Star Theme
He acts like he is above Master Li's teachings. Such are the conceits of wealth, I suppose. I appreciate that you arrived when you did.
What did Gao want?
What does Gao the Lesser ever want? He is convinced he can buy everything, and that includes people. He is a spoiled little man. I'd rather not dwell on him. Let's not increase his influence by talking about him after he's gone. What is it you wish?
You know about the bandits. Master Li said to get a weapon from Gujin.
Yes, he said you were coming. He just passed here with Si Pat, on his way to help Kia Min. It's strange that simple bandits would launch such a raid. Master Li was concerned that this would interrupt your training. His respect for your potential is just so... absolute. Has he told you any more about your future?
He did say we'd be facing a great evil and that we have a role he has kept secret, but I think the bandits are the bigger concern at the moment.
You're right. As useful as it was to help Master Li learn about the restlessness of the dead, thanks to my "gift," I see enough disturbing things as it is. If we can stop the bandits quickly, we can keep everyone safe. Let's go get your weapon from Gujin's workshop. It shouldn't be too hard to fend off simple bandits. They are foolish to attempt such an attack.
Let's go together. I could use the company.
Of course. Good company will make the walk go faster.
And with that, Dawn Star joins us as a follower. As I mentioned in the OP, you can only have one party member following you at all times, and as the game is pointing out here we can set each follower's tactics to Attack or Support. I tend to keep them on support duty a lot of the time, because they're not always the most efficient in combat. Dawn Star's support ability restores your chi during fights and does it pretty quickly as well, which is incredibly useful in longer combat segments. Of course, I keep her on Attack for this update and make things way harder for myself than they should be.
Hold on, we've got another scroll to read.
The Great Wheel. The cycle of life, death and reincarnation where a person's spirit is eternal and unchanging. Since Dawn Star's "gift" has to do with the spirit world, it's rather appropriate that this particular bit of lore can be found at her home.
Next to Dawn Star's house, we can also find these:
The Spirit Font fully restores your health and chi, while the Focus Shrine does the same to, well, focus. These are scattered around the game world, usually before boss fights and other tough sections, and can be used as many times as you need.
Now that we have Dawn Star with us, we can head to the town proper and visit Gujin's workshop to get our weapon.
Unfortunately, trouble is brewing on the other side of the gate as some of the bandits have made their way to town and are now bothering the peasants.
You're right, this isn't worth it.
Poor guy had no chance.
The bandits don't fare all that much better.
I can't believe they moved so quickly. We need your weapon. Gujin will be in his shop north of the main stairs.
Here we are. We talked to the bystanders after the fight, but all they said was basically "Heavens no, they killed him!"
This gentleman is Gujin the weapon master himself. Gujin speaks Tho Fan, which is of course subtitled for our convenience (and because the characters understand it).
Oh, there's no need for titles. Not from you two.
Why do you insist on speaking like that, Gujin?
The Old Tongue, you mean? Anyone with half an education understands Tho Fan, and some of us prefer the way it rolls of the tongue. Don't act like it's a surprise. Lots of people speak it, although I suppose it is concentrated mostly in the Prosperous East. [switches to English] If you'd prefer, I don't need to use Tho Fan. Now, what brings you here?
Already? I assume you dealt with them, and the rest are in for quite a surprise when they get here. Well, no time to waste.
Yeah, those two bandits didn't last very long, did they? To be fair, most of the folks we'll be fighting will be much tougher.
I don't remember if it's ever really mentioned, but Dawn Star's sword is called Gujin's Favor. Party members' weapons are a bit special in that they can damage enemies that weapon styles don't normally work on. Obviously this is because only the main character can switch between different styles and the followers only have one, and it would be dumb if they couldn't damage certain foes at all, but that also leads to this rather silly situation where everyone else seems to have better weapons than the protagonist (although ours will do more damage in general). But I'm getting ahead of myself here, let's actually get that weapon first.
Well, two actually, but you need to chose which one you'll take. Master Li wants you to stay focused on your first weapon.
Is there anything special about these weapons?
Anything? *Everything.* I don't know where your master acquired these, but he has honored me with the care of two legendary weapons. You may arm yourself with either the legendary long sword, Fortune's Favorite, or the famed long staff, Golden Star.
Tell me about the long sword, Fortune's Favorite.
I know perfectly well which one I'm choosing, but let's just have Gujin tell us about both of the weapons for posterity's sake.
How your master found it, I cannot say, but this ancient long sword is yours if you wish it.
Let me hear about the staff, Golden Star.
They say Golden Star was forged as a gift to a water spirit of the Silkworm River. A young noble convinced the Great Eastern Serpent to fly him to the stars, where he dipped this staff in the tail of a comet. It could be pure fantasy, but this staff certainly isn't. It's strong and has an excellent reach. Your foes will tremble when they see you wielding it.
I used the staff on my first playthrough and never really liked it all that much, it always felt kinda slow and cumbersome to wield. Which means that we'll be taking the sword.
If you decide you truly don't like it, however, you can come see me after the bandits are dealt with.
Is there anything else?
One more thing you need to know. These weapons strike with deadly precision, but to wield them safely you must focus with each strike. Master Li has been training you so that you'd be ready for this kind of weapon, and the drain won't be crippling, but you will get tired over time.
I should go see the townsfolk now.
That you should. These people will be looking for you for leadership until Master Li gets back. I know you'll do well.
As we finish the conversation, Student Si Pat runs in again.
Calm down, student. What has you so flustered?
The bandits! They've already been sighted by the beach, and they're making their way toward the town!
Does Master Li know they're already here?
Master Li hasn't returned yet with Kia Min. I'm sure he will be back before long, but we must depend on you until he returns.
I doubt asking Si Pat to come help us out with the bandits would be of much use because he's not exactly a great warrior, so let's just send him back to the school to warn the others. He'll probably go there no matter what you pick here.
Make your way to the beach and teach these bandits a lesson! I know you can.
You've done well, lad. Go back to the school now. Your friends have some new weapons they're dying to try out, I'm sure.
All right. Weapons are separate fighting styles that you can switch to at any time by quick-selecting it on the d-pad, and as Gujin said we can't use them indefinitely due to the focus drain. Eventually we'll be able to use weapons for quite some time as we gain levels and put some points to Focus cost reduction, but for now we shouldn't be relying on our sword too much.
Before we go anywhere, there's one more scroll we need to take a look at.
Nothing particularly exciting in this one, but there's a reason why we wanted to read it.
It completes a book set, which gives us a permanent stat boost.
As we make our way towards the beach, some more bandits show up to pester us and get cut down immediately. One of them drops a yellow orb, which you can collect to restore some focus. There are also red and blue orbs that restore health and chi.
Closer to the beach, we run into these guys. This is kind of supposed to be a tutorial for area attacks (A + X) but I completely fail to notice the tutorial popup. AoE attacks are pretty good for crowd control, as you might expect. They don't do much damage, but enemies get knocked around and you get some breathing room.
This jerk with the beard has a polearm, which are incredibly annoying when wielded by enemies due to the range and the poking attack they just love to use. The pokes seem to go through our attacks, so we're kinda getting roughed up here.
Will you stop poking me with that stick so I can kill you. At least we've got some chi left for healing, albeit not for long.
Well, EVENTUALLY we manage to take down all these idiots, and it only took all our chi and most of our focus. Dawn Star also got knocked out at some point, so this went all kinds of well. Jade Empire is not a difficult game, but this tutorial section can be tough if you're just starting out or haven't played in a long time. You don't have much health, chi or focus to play with, and some of these enemies can mess you up in seconds. The game gets much easier pretty soon.
All right, let's get going to the beach then.
Oh hey, autosave. Jade Empire doesn't autosave all that frequently, so when it does you can generally assume some shit is about to go down. And when shit goes down, I have video of it.
VIDEO: You should probably watch this
Si Pat mentioned earlier that the bandits on the boat fired something at Kia Min. I hope it wasn't a cannonball, and if it was I hope she fared better than these poor sods.
The bandits attack us, of course, and the bald weirdo on the boat keeps firing cannonballs at us. The only warning we get is Dawn Star going "look out" about a second before we get blown up. Fortunately, one hit won't kill us, and the cannonballs don't discriminate between us and the bandits.
Once we're done with the guys on the beach, another wave of bandits shows up and this time they're a bit tougher.
Getting hit by a cannonball won't kill us, but we do get lit on fire which causes damage over time. We don't really need that with our chi being low enough as it is. This fight can be really tough for a new player, I died here multiple times on my first playthrough back in the day.
Here's the bandit leader, who fights with Wolverine claws. That is actually a style we can pick at the start, called Leaping Tiger. Magic type characters start with it and we can learn it later on. It's pretty good at higher levels. If this is the bandit leader, though, who is Mr. Cannonball-Head on the boat?
On the plus side, the cannonball also hit the bandit leader and he was easy to take out after that, and at this point it's just a matter of helping Dawn Star take down the last bandit.
By "this" he obviously means Bink video compression from ten years ago. Truly the most terrifying of foes.
Or he may be summoning vengeful ghosts, at least one of whom is using ice magic.
Spirits aren't affected by man-made weapons, so our sword is useless here. Not that we have the focus to use it anyway. Dawn Star's sword can hurt these guys, though, but it doesn't do much damage to them (or in general).
We have two ghosts with ice magic and one wielding a polearm, neither of which is very nice. These ghosts don't have much health, though, and are arguably easier to take down than the bandits earlier.
Like so. The sorcerer on the boat is not pleased and decides to teleport himself to us.
Before he can do anything, we are interrupted by another heavily compressed FMV.
Master Li is obviously done with Kia Min, and is now racing towards the town at inhuman speed.
Assassin? And it seems like he was looking for Master Li as well.
Before the assassin gets another word in, Master Li attacks him and starts giving him a proper beatdown. The assassin, while clearly powerful and even able to command spirits, has no chance against a true master.
Whoever this assassin was working for, he's not going to report back to them.
Dawn Star can explain the nature of such creatures. I must go and make sure everything is in place. I thought I had more time, but perhaps you are ready.
Do not be so quick to thank me. My influence caused this attack. You were not meant to see this yet, but now there is no choice. I will explain at the school.
Next time, we will learn the truth about many things, including the role Master Li has planned for us.