Jade Empire: Dawn Star & Backstory

By Shamus Posted Thursday Apr 5, 2007

Filed under: Game Reviews 18 comments

Jade Empire spoilers follow…

  • Early in the game Zu has a conversation with Hui, where he reveals that about twenty years ago he delieved a baby to Hui and then kept watch on the baby from a distance.
  • He reveals that he was one of the ones ordered to go and kill Master Li’s family, which consisted of his wife and child. This order is what triggered his departure from the Lotus Assasins and led to his life as a swamp hermit.
  • At one point you ask him point-blank if he really killed Li’s family and he evades the question, saying he’s done many things he’s not proud of but never admitting to killing the family.
  • When you first meet him, he doesn’t want anything to do with you until you reveal that you’re after Dawn Star. Then he agrees to help out.
  • Dawn Star was born twenty years ago. When she was young she moved around a bit, but was eventually left at Master Li’s school in Two Rivers. She remembers no firm details about her time before Two Rivers.

It seems to be astoundingly obvious that the baby must have been Dawn Star. Zu most likely killed Li’s wife, but couldn’t bring himself to murder an infant. So he disobeyed the order, made off with the baby, and tried to get it somewhere safe. He left the baby with Hui, who eventually took the baby to Two Rivers. Zu stayed in the swamp nearby to keep an eye on her.

If this is the case then it means that Master Li unwittingly raised his own daughter, who he believed to be dead. Zu (indirectly) delivered the baby to her father, who he believed to be dead. Zu had no idea who master Li really was, so he did not engineer this arrangement on purpose.

However, I’ve worked on the dialog a bit with various characters, and nobody ever reveals this explicitly. I doubt my guess because the game is so good at misleading you and playing against expectations that the conclusion just seems to obvious. Am I missing a sidequest someplace where this gets all cleared up? I’ve finished the game now, but maybe I missed some details somewhere.


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18 thoughts on “Jade Empire: Dawn Star & Backstory

  1. Vegedus says:

    Ahhhhh, spoilers! Duck and cover! I only just got it, so I hope its as good as you say.

    And… First?

  2. The Gneech says:

    Well, I’d tell you … but that would be a spoiler! ;P

    -The Gneech

  3. SteveDJ says:

    Ok, so this is way off topic (but hey! the banner ad is on this page, at least this time around, so it fits, right…? :) )

    I just have to say that I LOVE the new ad for the DMotR mugs! If I drank coffee, I’d definitely have to get one.

  4. Da Penguin says:


    this is off topic, but your rollercpaster video just turned up on the site i read for strange news stiries..i think linked from another site.. it reminds me how much that rollercoaster video cheers me up :)
    (maybe it’s also the they might be giants music too)


    Steve aka penguin

  5. Stephen says:

    I don’t remember ever finding that as a dialogue option with Li, despite coming to the same conclusion you did. It was sad, too, since I’d been dragging her around with me with the hope of an option of, “You’d kill your own daughter?!” before the final fight.

  6. AJ says:

    You can trigger the dialog with Li, but I can’t recall how. I believe it has to do with the end of the game fight against Li though. As long as you’ve gone through the entire backstory with all involved characters, it works itself in.

    I do remember that it’s important to do some back and forth with Dawn Star and Zu before the option presents itself.


    Also, as an aside for all the pervy sages out there (obligatory Naruto reference) this is the first game I’ve ever seen where you can actually romance BOTH women and keep them together. It’s really hard to pull off, but since I’d already beaten the game about 10 times doing everything else I figured, what the heck :-D

  7. Evil Otto says:

    In order to get to the dialog that reveals this, you’ve got to push Zu and Dawnstar’s character arcs as far along as they will go… and there’s only a short window where you can do so. After Zu disappears in the Imperial City it’s too late to finish this particular arc if you haven’t gotten him to reveal most of his background; he takes the secret to his grave. If you’ve done so he still won’t tell you anything until he appears in the Lotus Assassin Temple just before the last battle there. At that point he reveals only that Master Li’s child still lives. Later on you put two and two together and figure out who it is.


    If you find out who Dawnstar is, you can try to use that to influence Li late in the game. It doesn’t do a damned bit of good… he will simply tell you he would have made the same decisions whether he knew she was alive or not. You still have to stomp him.

  8. The Fool says:


    If you talk to Sagacious Zu often enough (I forget how many times, and after what developments) and raise your influence with him or whatever the equivalent of the influence system for Jade Empire is, he’ll tell you about saving Dawn Star during your last conversation with him. You can use this later, informing Dawn Star and Silk Fox of it (Silk Fox, of course, not being very happy with this), and you can attempt to use it to turn/weaken Sun Li (who doesn’t much care)

  9. Jessie says:

    Yeah, Li expresses disbelief, and then claims to not really care because it was getting the power that was important, not the revenge for his dead family. Nice guy.

  10. David V.S. says:

    “However, I've worked on the dialog a bit with various characters, and nobody ever reveals this explicitly.”

    I’m not at Dirge, and this was revealed explicitly to my character by the Water Dragon, and then my character explicitly shared it with the rest of the party. Dawn Star is troubled (repeatedly), Silk Fox is unwilling to believe, and Sky is having a hoot watching the women bicker about it.

    But I don’t know what dialogue (or other) choices I made so that this was explicit in my game, compared to yours.

  11. ricki says:

    sky is seriously anoying me but i couldnt bring myself to bind him what is it like?

  12. ricki says:

    i dont care if silk fox is a princess she rules supreme

  13. Dan Hemmens says:

    As others have pointed out, you *can* get confirmation of this: Dawn Star is indeed Master Li’s daughter. You can confront him about it after the second siege of Dirge.

    He doesn’t care, and like everything about master Li it’s *really* well done. He pauses for a moment, and then tells you that no, it would not have made any difference to him either way.

    For a brief moment I felt kind of cheated that this “big reveal” didn’t have any effect, then I realised that we were talking about the same man who – as you observe in an earlier article – raised you and trained you for twenty years whilst all the while planning to murder you.

  14. ricki says:

    How do you get Li to admit that he is Dawn Star’s Father

  15. Ryan says:

    Ok, how EXACTLY do you get Zu to fess up? What words need to be said and who needs to do what?

  16. Shadow says:

    I couldn’t say exactly word for word what you say to Zu, but I remember you need to be considerate around him. *Don’t* allow Silk Fox to make fun of him and *always* stay on his side in converstations as much as you can.

  17. Cheeseberger says:

    I got him to confess… I didn’t do much differently than normal except for talking to Zu everytime I did a little achievement. I lol’d at Li’s response, I kinda anticipated it..

  18. JoshR says:

    I guessed this as soon as hui started talking to zu about the child.
    dawn star’s questionable parentage meant she was prime candidate to have a revelation.

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