- "Tyranny from external sources are easy to find and fight. Defending those who cannot defend themselves is a reasonable example. But when your abilities are so much greater than those around you, there is a temptation to set everything right by might alone. That is tyranny from within".
- –Smiling Mountain
The Way of the Open Palm or the "High path", is a philosophy within the Jade Empire. It is the "good" side alignment for the player. The alternate path to the Open Palm path is the Way of the Closed Fist path, the evil side alignment.
The Way of the Open Palm, a martial philosophy, is considered the key to maintaining harmony with nature, one's own surroundings, and the place that one has within the Celestial Bureaucracy. In order to stay in symbiosis with nature and one's surroundings, a follower of this philosophy is expected to actively assist in lessening chaos, resisting and removing tyranny, and providing assistance in lessening the burdens of others. The philosophy is not without its pitfalls. Those who follow the Way of the Open Palm can be tempted to set everything right by might alone. This can become a convenient excuse. Eventually, one may decide that direct violence is too inefficient, and changes tactics to enforcing their will so that a crime never takes place. Thus, the practitioner would result in becoming an oppressor when initially all one wanted was to make things right.
It is basically associated with being benevolent, helpful, polite and courteous.
Following the High Path
Throughout the various quests that the Player completes in the game, the option of completing the quest in 'good way', or 'evil way', is presented. Good is generally associated with various dialogue options, which usually have to be ended with polite and helpful answer or under certain circumstances with 'reluctance' to violence with answers like, "I don't want to fight, but you leave me no choice". Usually the game ensures that inspite of all the 'reluctance' to fight, the Player does end up fighting them. But in certain cases, like for example, in the quest surrounding Judge Fang, it is far easier to resolve the plot in a manner akin to the Way of the Closed Fist, but by being a little crafty and finding alternative ways to solve problems, the Player can please the quest giver without an alignment "hit".
Some side quests can only be completed by following one path. Following the Way of the Open Palm or Closed Fist path will affect most main and side quest results; the choice of the Player's various companions as well as their actions, responses and attitudes and their final fate. It will also decide the the ultimate outcome of the game and the ending cut-scene.
Points are awarded each time the player follows the Open Palm or Closed Fist options in the various quests and dialogue responses. When a certain level is reached in Open Palm path, a glowing blue halo, resembling an open palm, appears behind the player's head every time he or she stands idle for sometime, as a sign of the protagonist's alignment to the "Way of the Open Palm".
There are also usually some neutral option of ending certain dialogue options, which provide no Open Palm or Closed Fist points.