The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

Part 32: Get Back In That Hole, Partner

Episode 30: Get Back In That Hole, Partner

Last time, we dealt with the troubles at the Black Leopard School, so we're now finished with the Imperial City sidequests for the time being. That means we finally get to go to the Necropolis, where we are to recover the Vault 12 water chip find the entrance to the Lotus Assassin Fortress so we can finally progress the plot (spoiler: this won't actually happen in today's update).

The Necropolis is accessed via the Golden Way, and the entrance is being guarded by a single soldier who stops you as you approach.

Fortunately(?) we do in fact have some business there.

We can probably guess what the problem is, but might as well ask the guard about it.

It would take an army of us to clear them out... if we could do it at all. We can't even safely post a guard in there. We just warn people away. The Lotus Assassins want everyone kept away, as well. First time I've heard of them being altruistic.

When did all this start?

Things have been bad over the past few--let's say five--years. No one has any idea why so many of the dead refuse to return to the wheel of life peacefully. All we know for sure is that they're not happy. Not happy at all.

I think we actually received a new bit of information there: apparently, even though Dirge happened 20 years ago, the ghosts have only really become a problem over the last few years. This may have been mentioned earlier, but I don't remember it coming up.

Nice, thanks. We should be able to handle ourselves in there just fine, though.

I'm not 100% certain, but I want to say the gate to the Necropolis is actually closed until you get one of the Lotus Assassin seals. There's not much reason to enter until you have to go to the fortress, anyway.

In any event, we're here. Welcome to the city of the dead.

The Necropolis area has the same creepy music as the Great Southern Forest, so we can safely assume some spooky times are ahead. I kinda like the lighting here, it makes things look a bit less drab even though we are going through a graveyard. We can just about see a quest marker in the distance, so let's check that out.


Oh, good. These guys again. Can't say I exactly missed fighting Lost Spirits.

There was a pretty long break between recordings, so I ended up fumbling with my controls a bit here and the Lost Spirits got a couple of hits in.

The first Lost Spirit we kill drops this dark orb which, as the game points out, makes all our attacks unblockable for a short time (possibly for the remainder of the fight, it's hard to tell). I think the Necropolis is the first place where we see any of these special powerups.

As you might expect, this powerup helps us totally annihilate the remaining Lost Spirit.

*cough cough*

I could use the skills of a woman like you. Normally I don't think much of a woman in my line of work, but I think you can help me with a problem I've been having.

Ah. Wonder what line of work that might be.

Right. Shen here seems to think women aren't cut out for digging graves, but to be honest he's a bit of a creepy weirdo in general so that's not really surprising.

I've got to dig the holes, fill them, and balance the books and everything. Nice proper burials, eh-heh. But now, with all these ghosts rising again, I've got problems. No one seems to want to stay dead. and I can't go refunding all the burial money to all the families of the ghosts now... I can't afford it! So, I just want you to do a little job for me. Nothing hard, just put the ghosts back where they belong. Quiet them down a bit. There'll be a little bit in it for you as well, don't worry. Can't have you going away empty-handed, now, can we? Eh-heheh. So, what do you say?

Eh-heh, but you don't look like a monk, so you probably don't have their scruples about money, either. I... uh... come by a lot of valuables in my line of work. I can pay well. So, you interested?

Well, as it turns out, Wu is in fact a monk, one specializing in spirit-related matters even. So, I guess helping out Shen here sort of fits in with our job description.

They just bring themselves back up as fast as I can put them in. I'll give you a reward for any ghosts you take care of. Eh-heh, you can make good money that way. There are three main ghosts to deal with: Miss Chan, Merchant Bai, and Mister Ren. I'll give you a reward for each, of course. I know a bit about them, but not that much.

Just like Captain Sen's bounties, then, only this time the targets are already dead. Simple enough.

Let me see what you're selling.

Gravedigger Shen is a completely terrible person, but as a character he's pretty enjoyable because he just gives no fucks. His voice actor is great, too.

We could be outraged by the fact Shen steals from the dead, but quite frankly we're not in a position to do so because... well, RPG protagonist. So, let's just see what Shen has for sale.

Nothing of any use to us, apparently. Shen is the worst graverobber ever.

Hey, I'm not finished with you yet! Stupid store interface mechanics...

We'll follow Shen in a minute. First off, though, let's take a look at our style menu.

We now have a hell of a lot of skill points to play with, so I leveled up the styles in each category so they have the same number of points invested into them. Think of it as leveling up the style categories instead of individual styles. I also put some points into those styles I would normally ignore almost completely, such as the transformation ones. Heavenly Wave remains useless, so I didn't bother.

We didn't finish our conversation with Shen, so let's go and meet up with him once more.

All right then, looks like we already have a job to do.

Upgraded Stone Immortal makes quick work of the restless spirit.

We can look around Shen's house, but the only thing of interest in there is the cabinet which contains this rather useless gem. If we want to, we can sell it back to him!

Eh-heh, yeah, I guess you could say that. She was my mother-in-law. Never once in her life did she say a kind word to me, and now she tried to keep at me even in death.

Eh-heh, but any good job deserves a reward, of course.

It certainly does. Can we please get on with it?

Gravedigger Shen: a man who decided that robbing his own mother-in-law's grave was the right thing to do. That said, I think the most surprising/disturbing detail about all of this is that Gravedigger Shen appears to be married. I suppose there really is someone out there for everybody.

Eh-heh, it comes and it goes. No use being a stiff, right? Eh-heheh. Now, go and find those ghosts I told you about. Eh-heh, can't get a good day's work done with them still around.

The Mournful Soul gives +3 bonuses to Mind and Spirit but comes with a -5 hit to Body.

I thought it might be a good idea to show our character record every once in a while. We've fully Open Palm now, and our abilities are fairly balanced. Spirit is a bit higher than Body and Mind, but despite that we actually have slightly less chi than health or focus.

We can also take a look at our gameplay statistics. Legendary Strike is still our most-used martial style, but Leaping Tiger should be right up there by this point.

And here are our conversation skills. Pretty well balanced there as well.

What do you need?

I'd finally like to hear about those three ghosts of his.

What about them?

Tell me about Miss Chan.

Ah, Miss Chan. A tragedy, really, and one that happens all too often. It's always the pretty ones who go. She died in childbirth, and the baby died with her. Her family put her in the family plot along with her son. She came up again recently, looking for revenge on me. She seems to think that *I* killed her baby, or took it or something. Maybe she saw me take away the body, but she won't believe me. Every time I go near, she tries to kill me!

Seriously, this guy does not give a fuck. I suppose one must not get too sentimental in his line of work, but he's not even trying to hide his greed.

Her baby? Not much. It's in one of the plots there. I'm sure. You can find it if you look. Hm... it was a long time ago. I don't even remember what its name was. Hm... but it was short. I know that. Definitely less than 3 words. But... sorry, that's really all I remember. Anything else you want to know about the ghosts?

Tell me about Merchant Bai.

Ah, that one. He's mad, I tell you. Mad with fear, though of what I have no idea. You'd think he'd be grateful, considering what's gone on here. He was murdered in an alleyway. Happens a lot in the poorer districts. They eventually caught his murderers and they were beheaded. I know. I put them in the ground myself. Dead as can be. You‘d think he'd be grateful with them dead and gone. But up he comes the very next day, screaming his head off. He's driving the customers away.

I'll see what I can do.

Tell me about Mister Ren.

He was buried by his wife a short while ago. I don't know what killed him. The family wouldn't talk about it. But his face was bloated like you wouldn't believe, eh-heh. His wife's still around, though. She won‘t visit since he came up. Every time she gets near, he starts screaming incoherently, and he's out of it for days. Nothing near him is safe.

Hm. Maybe if we talked to Ren's wife, we could find out something about his death.

Alright, we're done here for now. Let's go see if we can find these ghosts and take care of them.

Taking the path opposite to Shen's house leads further into the Necropolis. I really, really do not like traversing the Necropolis at all, and you'll soon see why.

I'm not sure who these statues are supposed to depict, but they are quite majestic and...


This. This right here is the reason the Necropolis is quite possibly the single worst section of this game. Nearly every time you enter one of these circular areas, you get into a fight against up to three Lost Spirits, and when they appear they do it accompanied by this sound effect that seems much louder than any other sound in the game.

That glow you see around Wu is the damage shield effect from the Heaven's Blessing Gem. I figured I might as well show it off.

Unfortunately, the damage it supposedly does to attacking enemies is minimal, so the gem isn't particularly useful.

I hate these things.

I was hoping this scroll would have some information on those huge statues, but it's just some lore about spirits.

Not counting the path leading back to the exit and Shen's house, we have three routes we can take from here, each identified by a different sign above the gateway. For no particular reason, we'll start with this path that leads to the southeast corner of the Necropolis.

The path takes us to another one of those circular arenas (not sure what they're actually supposed to be called), but more importantly we can see a ghost ahead of us with a quest marker above its head.

We can investigate some of the gravestones along the way, but they just have some flavor text like this.

In any event, we seem to have found one of the ghosts Shen was talking about.

Ren Feng, if I ever get my claws on you, I'll Ieave you a stinking, bloated corpse!

Well then. Mr. Ren here does seem quite upset about his wife, just like Shen mentioned.

Maybe he'll tell us something about his death if we ask nicely.

Poisoned me! In my own house! When I find her....

How can I let the past go when my very reason for existing in this world still is her? She was everything to me in life, and is so in death, as well.

Tell me what happened.

We‘d been having fights, my wife and I, and she decided to end it. I sat down to eat, and the next thing I knew, I had choked to death and ended up here. That whore decided that I wasn't good enough for her. That she would just move on to something else after our years of marriage! She'll pay. Oh yes, she'll pay. But I have to find her first. Most likely, she's still at our old home. It's in the Market District near the entrance to the Black Leopard School. Find her, and bring her to me.

We should probably hear her side of the story before we do anything too drastic. The way Ren described how things went down, it does seem like he was poisoned but perhaps there is more to it.

One slightly annoying thing about this quest is that Ren's wife will not spawn in the Market District until you've talked to him. Shen made it sound like you could find her there at any time, but that is simply not the case and you must talk to Ren first.

I could cut out these Lost Spirit encounters, but then you wouldn't be getting the full Necropolis experience (well, since I'm not keeping the entire fights in the update, I guess you're still getting the slightly abridged version). I want to show you exactly how awful this section of the game is.

Hold on, this is the wrong way. I'm trying to go back to town, but this leads back to Ren's ghost. I kinda got turned around when I fought the Lost Spirit. Oh well, we only took a few steps in the wrong direction, surely that wasn't enough to trigger the Spirit to respawn.

Oh my god fuck you

Eventually we make it back to the Market District, and that would be Ren's wife right there. Time to find out how the poor guy got poisoned to death.

Yes. Yes I am. How do you know my name? Have we met?

That's putting it mildly.

Let's just ask her what happened before we do anything else.

It... it was the salmon. I knew it smelled odd when I bought it, but the price was right, and I needed it in a hurry, and... and... I'm so ashamed!

I don't... how does that even... just how did she manage not to notice that the fish had gone off so badly that it instantly kills anyone who eats it? Or was the fish actually laced with poison? And somehow Ren didn't find anything wrong with the food either, probably because he would eat any unidentified lump that was brought before him.

Well, that is debatable, but at least she didn't *mean* to kill him.

I have tried to visit his grave, but his madness knows no bounds. He seeks to drive me away at all costs. I... I think he might even try to kill me.

Yeah, about that...

His hatred is unreasoning but... understandable. He has never been able to listen long enough to have me explain what happened. It must be dreadful for him.

Why don't you explain it to him?

He... he never listens to me. He doesn't give me a chance. but... maybe if you were there with me. Could you be there with me? If you believe me, he might listen.

And even if he doesn't listen, we'll be there to step in if necessary. That might work.

Let's go now.

Thankfully, the game teleports us back to the Necropolis at this point and we don't need to fight any more Lost Spirits on the way.

Ren is about as happy to see Feng as you'd expect.

It... it almost makes me wish you'd have your wish, just so I could be with you again...

Feng... you... you really do care. Then all this time... my cursing. It was wrong.

This is going quite well thus far, but maybe it's better not to leave them alone just yet. We'll keep observing for now.

I... I forgive you, Feng.

And with that, Ren finally finds peace.

Glad to be of service. That'll also take care of Shen's bounty, we'll go tell him the good news later.

For now, let's keep going southeast.

I'm surprised we didn't get attacked by any Lost Spirits here. Not going to complain, though. Since we're here, we should probably investigate the Tomb of the Masses.

oh well never mind then

All right, guess we'll keep going forward in that case.

That is a very extravagant-looking tomb. We'll check it out soon enough, but first we've got more ghosts to deal with.

Merchant Bai here is another one of the ghosts we were asked to remove, so let's have a chat and find out what's bothering him.

You know of me? You have heard about the pains I suffered in life and this continued torment I have to endure in death?

I was a merchant in life. Not a rich one, but I made enough to survive. I sold mostly to the poorer sections of the city. My goods weren't the finest, but they were practical. At the time, there were a pair of brothers, Si Tsu and Si Ran, who were the terror of the streets. They extorted money and goods from everyone. They tried to extort from me.

They... they were. They caught me in an alley and demanded my goods or my life. My goods *are* my life. How could they take one or the other? When I wouldn't give them what they wanted, they... they decided to make an example of me. They killed me... and mutilated me... and left me dead in that alley. They terrorized the city for weeks after that, but they were finally run down. That might have been where it ended, justice done, but it wasn't...

I think we can all see where this is going.

My spirit cannot rest quiet with them here. Even now, in death, they mock me and torment me as they did in my final moments of life. They drive me mad!

Yes! Yes! If my killers are at last removed from this world, their spirits will no longer torment me! You... you must find a way to defeat them and drive them from this place. They were common criminals, so they were not given a normal burial. They were dumped in a communal grave underground, to the south. I'm sure you can find them.

That'll be the Tomb of the Masses we just passed by, of course.

Well, let's go take a look.

Now that we've activated this particular quest flag, the door we couldn't get through is suddenly unlocked, and for some reason the Lost Spirits didn't show up this time. Looks like some ghosts are hanging out down there, maybe they're our guys.

These charming individuals are indeed the Si brothers we were looking for. They're obviously not interested in talking, so we'll just have to put them down instead. Hopefully that'll be enough for Merchant Bai.

Right about here was where I thought "hm, I sure am using Leaping Tiger a hell of a lot even though I now have all those style upgrades". Obviously, I can't use Crimson Tears against spirit enemies, and we already saw Stone Immortal in action many times, so what should we try on Si Tsu?

The horse demon form does a lot of damage, but moves slowly and is vulnerable against groups while also eating through your chi bar like nobody's business. The chi cost can be mitigated somewhat with upgrades, but you most likely wouldn't bother on a normal playthrough.

We whack Si Tsu around a bit while in horse demon form, and it doesn't take much for him to go down. After the fight is over, you automatically return to human form.

The brothers had some loot stashed down here, including a bit of silver and the Sixth Sense gem (Intuition +8, Charm and Intimidation -3). Now we just have to return to Merchant Bei and tell him we took down the brothers.

Well, after the usual formalities, of course. I really wonder whose idea it was to make these Lost Spirits spawn almost every time you enter certain spots on the map. If you're just beelining to the Lotus Assassin Fortress, you can get through the whole Necropolis area in about five minutes, but doing the sidequests involves a ton of backtracking and so you end up fighting about a million of these floaty jerks.

Thank you! Thank you! I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my... er... spirit. Here, let me show you this. Something Shen hasn't found yet. I hope you use it well, and... thank you.

That should come in handy at Lord Lao's Furnace later. Two ghosts down, now to find the last one.

That turned out to be quite a short search.

He was only a few moments old when that vile man took him from me, ripped him from my arms, and carried him away. Please, find my baby! Bring him back to me. Let me know how he's doing.

Shen did say the baby died right after Miss Chan did, so I'm afraid bringing him back isn't going to be an option here.

No... *No!* I can't... I refuse to believe it! My darling precious little boy... he can't be dead. Not now... not like this! He must be out there! I must see him with my own eyes!

I don't suppose she's going to listen to reason here, so we have to figure something out.

Proving that her son is dead might work, although we don't have much information to go on.

If your lies are true, then Shen, that murdering monster, would have buried him here. All my family is here. But... I don't know these names! I don't know my baby's name! My family would have named him after... after I passed beyond. Shen must know, or there must be some way to find him. I remember so little since I... I passed away.

What can you tell me about your baby?

So far, all we know is that his name was less than three words long. That's all Shen was able to tell us.

I remember... There was an... aunt? An uncle? Or was it his father? I... I don't remember it any clearer than that. Every time I try to grasp it, it slips away.

So he might have been named after another member of the family? That'll help narrow it down a bit, at least. Let's go and check the names on those tombstones.

[Look at the first tombstone. Chan Han.]

["Chan Han. Loving mother devoted to her three children"]

[Look at the second tombstone. Chan Li.]

["Chan Li. A boy named in honor of the Glorious Strategist."]

[Look at the third tombstone. Chan Ding Sheng.]

["Chan Ding Sheng. Founding father of the Resplendent Sun."]

[Look at the fourth tombstone. Chan Tuo.]

["Chan Tuo. Named in honor of his uncle, Tuo De."]

The first one, Chan Han, is described as a "loving mother" so I suppose that'd be Miss Chan herself. The second one, Chan Li, appears to be a young boy, but he was named in honor of Sun Li and nothing like that came up when we talked to Miss Chan. The third one, Chan Ding Sheng, is a businessman, so he's definitely out. That leaves the fourth tombstone and Chan Tuo, who was named after his uncle. He's got to be Miss Chan's child.

I think I know which grave belongs to your baby.

Are... are you sure? I know I wouldn't be able to stand it if I was separated from him again. Please don't let this madness consume me. Are you sure it is the right grave?

Yes. I'll show you.

If you manage to screw this up, Miss Chan's ghost will become hostile and you have to put her down. We shouldn't have to worry about that, though.

This is him. Chan Tuo.

Dead before his time, he rests here near my own body. My darling, darling boy. I come to you now.

Miss Chan's spirit departs peacefully, and that should mean we've taken care of all the problem ghosts for Gravedigger Shen. We'll go inform him in a bit, but since we are here we should check out that massive tomb next to us.

This thing is seriously huge, must be for someone important.

After climbing the stairs and passing through the hallway, we find ourselves in a courtyard. That must be the actual entrance to this tomb, and there seems to be someone at the door.

You'll scream like a demon when Fading Moon puts the light inside of you.

So this is where Fading Moon, the arsonist Captain Sen was looking for, is hiding. Once again, I'm not sure why BioWare went through the trouble of creating a unique model for such a minor NPC.

There's more than that on my head. There's a crown of flame that burns all the time, even when it gets tighter! You'll scream like those maggot people, leeching off the Empire until they burn!

No prizes are awarded for correctly guessing what fighting style Fading Moon prefers.

We've dodged so many fireballs by now that Fading Moon will not pose much of a threat. This seems like a good time to try out a different style.

Since we're finally fighting someone who isn't a spirit, we can give the Crimson Tears a try. This was the double saber style we learned from Crimson Khana back at the Arena, and it's got the same level of upgrades as our trusty Dragon Sword (nearly maxed out, that is).

It turns out high-level Crimson Tears destroys your opponents. That's 75% of Fading Moon's health gone, and all I did was the basic 3-hit combo.

One more hit, and Fading Moon's career as an arsonist is over.

She drops the Gem of Pure Flame, which adds +3 to Spirit and Mind and can only be used by Open Palm characters (the Closed Fist counterpart is the Gem of Black Flame, which you get if you side with Smiling Hawk in the Black Leopard School quest).

Looking back, I think I may have actually missed one of these Nature of the Spirit scrolls when I was in the Necropolis. There are four of them around here, we find two in this update and just one in the next unless I'm very much mistaken. I could've sworn I explored everything, but we'll see. I can still go back to the Necropolis if necessary, but I'd really rather not.

The Unfinished Tomb is completely empty except for those two Spirit Fonts (one of which seems to be there just for flavor purposes, because there's zero need to have multiple Spirit Fonts next to each other) and what appears to be a door on the back wall.

This is very clearly supposed to be a door, but we can't interact with it. Maybe later.

We got a bit of Necropolis sidequesting done in this update, and next time we'll go back to Gravedigger Shen and hopefully get paid for our efforts. We also need to turn in Fading Moon's bounty to Captain Sen, and who knows what else the City of the Dead has in store for us on our way to the Lotus Assassin Fortress?