Gao the Lesser

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Gao! I have made enough concessions to you today! I thought I could guide you away from your corrupted path, but you are too much the son of Gao the Greater!Master Li reprimanding Gao the Lesser for going too far with his impetuousness.

Gao the Lesser is a minor antagonist who appears in the first chapter of the videogame Jade Empire. He is the son of the crime lord Gao the Greater as well as the player character's rival in the martial arts school of Two Rivers and unwanted wooer of Dawn Star.

He was voiced by Nathan Fillion, who also played Caleb in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the Monstrous Inmate in Guardians of the Galaxy, Preston Northwest in Gravity Falls, Cornvelious Daniel in Rick & Morty and The Detachable Kid in The Suicide Squad.



Gao the Lesser was born as the spoiled son of the leader of the criminal organization Guild, Gao the Greater, who made his fortune out of pirating and slave trading. Gao the Lesser grew up to embrace the mindset that he could get anything he wanted with money or strength and didn't have to care about other people. At some point, he came to the village of Two Rivers and became a student in the local martial arts school. While Gao demonstrated skill, he never rose from the rank of a junior student due to his lack of patience and discipline.

Gao always considered himself superior to the other students and the village in general, and he earned the general dislike of everyone due to his arrogance. Even though he wanted to improve his skills, he refused to mingle with the other students and showed no respect to Master Li. He was particularly jealous of Li's protege, the last Spirit Monk. In Gao's mind, Li focused too much on his protege's progress at the expense of everyone else. Against Master Li's wishes, Gao practiced forbidden styles he presumably learned from his sorcerous father. He also became infatuated with Dawn Star and tried to win her heart with charm or money, much to her disgust.

Ambition and disgrace

When Two Rivers is attacked by bandits, Gao fights with several of them. He tries afterwards to claim the glory of pushing the enemy back, but no one is fooled, knowing that the last Spirit Monk fought off the majority of them. Frustrated that only his rival is regarded as the hero, Gao objects when Master Li voices his decision to sent his protege to the Spirit Cave. Wanting a shot at greatness, Gao challenges the last Spirit Monk to a duel for the right to enter the Spirit Cave. Master Li concedes, arranging the match in the dueling ring and restricting Gao to using only the styles taught at the school.

Gao loses the duel he demanded in front of the entire school. Enraged and feeling humiliated, Gao refuses to kowtow to the last Spirit Monk when Master Li proclaims his protege as the victor. Refusing to accept defeat, Gao unleashes one of his dark styles and uses the Dire Flame style to shoot a fireball at his rival. Master Li blocks the attack and harshly reprimands Gao, declaring him to be too much his father's son. He decides to expel Gao from the school and ban his family from further business with them. Gao's then sent to Master Li's house for further reprimanding.

When the last Spirit Monk goes to Master Li's house to further discuss the destiny Li has prepared them for, Gao's sent outside. He remains behind the door to eavesdrop until Master Li reveals his true identity as Sun Li the Glorious Strategist. At this point, Li reveals himself to have been all along aware of Gao's eavesdropping. Gao runs off to inform his father of this discovery. Gao the Greater's allies, the Lotus Assassins, learn this way Sun Li's location after years of searching, as was the Glorious Strategist's intent.

Kidnapping of Dawn Star and Gao's death

While the last Spirit Monk is in the Spirit Cave, Gao hurriedly packs his stuff, knowing that the Lotus Assassins and his father's men are on their way to burn Two Rivers. He kidnaps Dawn Star and carries her away in a large sack. He's stopped at the school's gate by the junior student Si Pat. When Si Pat refuses to stand aside, Gao kills him with a single blow and leaves the junior student's body to burn before the shocked villagers as he laughs. He then intimidates the town gate's guard to faint by conjuring a fireball in his hand. As he enters the marshland surrounding Two Rivers, he leaves several of his father's men to intercept anyone from following him.

Gao the Lesser 02.jpg
Gao the Lesser preparing for the final duel.
With Dawn Star in the sack, Gao navigates through the swamp to a camp his father's men have set up, intending to leave with a Mosquito flyer awaiting him there. He orders the mercenaries to kill any bandits getting too close, leading the rogue Lotus Assassin Sagacious Zu to also be attacked. Upon reaching the camp, however, Dawn Star gets loose from the sack and runs into a cave housing ogres and toad demons. The mercenaries refuse to enter the cave, leading Gao to pursue Dawn Star alone.

Inside the cave, Gao's attacked by one of the ogres. By using Dire Flame and martial arts, he kills the ogre and inadvertently collapses the path behind. He then chases after Dawn Star, cornering her in an inner chamber. However, the last Spirit Monk arrives with Sagacious Zu in time to rescue Dawn Star. Infuriated and shocked by his rival's arrival, Gao gives implications of Two River's destruction, saying that he did Dawn Star a favor by kidnapping her. Thinking her ungrateful for not thanking him for this act of "nobility", Gao decides to kill her as well as Zu and his rival. He then engages in the final duel with the last Spirit Monk, freely using all the dark skills taught by his father. However, he's ultimately killed by the last Spirit Monk.

The lesser Gao's memory

You may have won a victory over Gao the Lesser, but it looks like he put things in motion that have outlived him.Sagacious Zu

When the last Spirit Monk, Dawn Star and Sagacious Zu leave Gao's body in the cave, they see airships heading toward Two Rivers. By using Gao's Mosquito flyer, they make it to the burning village where Gao the Greater's men are killing off survivors, finally understanding what Gao the Lesser was implying before his death. They then use his Mosquito flyer one more time before it crash-lands just outside the trade village of Tien's Landing. Since the river running through Tien's Landing is Gao the Greater's base of operations, the heroes end up in a confrontation with the lesser Gao's father.

After Gao the Lesser's body is discovered, Inquisitor Lim informs Gao the Greater of his son's death, much to the crime lord's anguish. While he's grieving for his son, the last Spirit Monk enters his office. Recognizing his son's killer, Gao the Greater attempts to avenge the lesser Gao, only to be killed as well.


Acknowledged to be Gao the Greater's son in all respects, Gao the Lesser is a walking epitome of arrogance and selfishness. Raised as a crime lord's spoiled son, Gao reacts poorly whenever he doesn't get what he wants. As Master Smiling Mountain states, he has the temper of a child. He makes it no secret that he cares only about increasing his own status and power, and he holds no respect for anyone else but his father. After he's fairly beaten in a duel he himself demanded, he refuses to accept defeat and dishonorably strikes with a technique he was explicitly forbidden from using, losing his place in Master Li's school. His overall worldview is a more self-centered version of the Way of the Closed Fist.

Gao fully shows his ruthless side when he kills the young student Si Pat for standing in his way, laughing as he leaves Si Pat's corpse to burn. He's attracted toward Dawn Star, but due to his self-centered and materialistic worldview, he considers it his right to gain ownership of her and regards her disrespectful for not responding to his advances. He kidnaps her, claiming to be doing her a favor and is outraged by her justified lack of gratitude. He also doesn't take responsibility for his undoings, like when he accidentally collapses a cave exit and blames Dawn Star for it.

Powers and abilities

Gao is acknowledged to have potential in martial arts, but due to his impatience and arrogance, he hasn't ascended beyond a junior student. He fights with the martial styles Iron Palm and Legendary Strike. He also uses the Heavenly Wave support style. He has also learned the Dire Flame magic style from his father.


  • At the beginning of gameplay, Gao accuses Master Li of focusing on the last Spirit Monk at the expense of him and every other student. Midway the plot, Master Li kills his protege without hesitation once they've served the purpose he raised them for and later reveals that he all along intended to let the other students to be killed so that there'd be nothing holding the Spirit Monk back. In a sense of irony, what originally came off as spiteful aspersion of Gao turns out to be correct, if not for the reason Gao thought.
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