- To Kill a Spirit
A wise monk once asked, "How can you kill a thing that is already dead?" The answer is simple: you cannot. You can, however, disperse a spirit. This is not the same as killing, but it has a similar effect. It is important to remember that spirits are virtually immune to man-made weapons. You must confront spirits with martial, magic, or transformation styles. Never underestimate the strength of spirits. They may appear insubstantial, but they can still be deadly to the living."
- –Jade Empire Bestiary, Volume 3, scrollstand located in the Spirit Cave, beneath Two Rivers.
All humans are spiritual beings. When they die, their spirits are released to find their way to the underworld. The journey eases the transition from life to death. If their time among the living was troubled or painful, spirits sometimes get lost. They can seem almost alive and are often mistaken for living creatures. Usually they say what they need to say and then are drawn to the underworld.
Spirits are the departed who have failed to get to the 'other side' and are left in the mortal world, confused and angry. If a person's life is very traumatic, his or her spirit can lose its way for a long time. They can go mad trapped in the world of the living. Maddened spirits change, they lose their connection to the living world and begin to channel darker emotions thus making them very dangerous. Spirits can't die but they can be fought. In defeat, they are disrupted and can't reform for a time.
Most enemy spirits will attack the protagonist on sight. Apart from appearing suddenly, they are also annoying due to their ability to reappear in many places ( Sickened Forest, Necropolis).
One particular type of ghosts, the Mask Spirits which appear in black with masks, are particularly annoying as they possess ranged magic attack, that are difficult to evade as they work like heat-seeking missiles and change direction to score. Also, these magical missile not only drain life but also chi.
In the Jade Empire: Special Edition, there are also Ghost Lords, which have a nasty melee attack but not quite so difficult to destroy.
Throughout the game, Spirits will be a constant threat to the protoganist, but they are usually not very tough. The only exception is the Red Minister. You can encounter one in the Necropolis ( Jin Lin side quest) or in the Dirge Temple.
Emperor Sun Hai is a ghost.
Spirits have immunities against support styles and weapon styles. They can be dealt with by using martial styles or magic styles. Using Focus mode (see Combat in PC) is also effective, especially against Mask Spirits and Red Ministers.