"I'm a simple man. Give me a good meal, a warm bed, and a handful of jewels."
— Covetous Shen(src)
Biography[edit | edit source]
"Oh, yes, yes, yes. Well, memories are useless, aren’t they? You can’t eat them or sell them for food. I’m glad that I’m starting to lose them!"
— Covetous Shen(src)
Shen has gone by many names throughout his life, the alias "Covetous Shen" being the latest. He has, at times, been compared to Zei, the Trickster God in Xiansian mythology; it is implied several times that the connection might go deeper than mere comparison. He does not deny that he is far from normal, and has lived longer than a normal man.
Early Life and Adventures[edit | edit source]
Shen hails from Xiansai, a land he would come to express negative sentiment about. He left due to his wanderlust. During his youth, he had "interesting experiences" with Zakarum priestesses. Another interesting experience Shen had at a (relatively) young age was during the Festival of Masks, where a woman stole his money pouch, with only a kiss in return. Mask still attached, Shen chased her halfway across the city's rooftops. He lost her, but still remembered her laugh.
During his travels, Shen came to search for a cursed jewel, said jewel containing a terrible creature named Dirgest. It had killed thousands, and could not be held without harm by anyone but himself. The jewel had, in Shen's own words, taken everything and everyone from him that mattered. The danger it presented was, in his view, similar to that of the Black Soulstone. He spent his life searching for it. One location his search took him to was Skovos, said adventure including sea monsters and poisoned arrows. It evaded his grasp, but the adventure wasn't entirely without gain, as, when the theater's ceiling collapsed, he literally fell into the arms of the woman who would be his seventh wife.
Shen once travelled with a Vecin wagon tribe for six months. He later commented that it was one of the happiest times of his life. It came to an end when he drunk too much flaming cider, and ended up in a married woman's bed with his trousers on his head. It was at this point that her husband came in. He had to leave in a hurry, but followed the wagon train for three more months, sneaking into her wagon whenever her husband fell asleep.
The Orphan and the Jeweler[edit | edit source]
Jewels in the East[edit | edit source]
"Poor young man. If I had known the crucible was cursed, I never would have brought him along. If you come see me in Caldeum, I can show you how the crucible can combine jewel fragments, hehe. Well, you know, I have been searching for a certain jewel for a long, long time. I’m in no rush, but maybe if I go with you, I’ll find it just like I found this crucible. May I come with you on your journey and make glorious jewelry for you?"
— Shen joins The Nephalem(src)
In 1285, Shen was in Caldeum's aqueducts, searching for a crucible that could combine jewel fragments. Upon finding it, his guide, Gavin, stole his crucible, and stuffed Shen in a barrel, where he was recued by The Nephalem. They found Gavin, but the crucible was cursed, and had turned him into a monster. Defeating him, Shen retrieved the crucible and offered his services to The Nephalem. They agreed. The truth was, Shen suspected that they might have an eventual hand in finding the jewel he sought. Until then, he would provide them with his services. He remained evasive as to his true identity, frustrating The Nephalem to no end.
Shen realized that the jewel he sought wasn't in Kehjistan. When The Nephalem retrieved the Black Soulstone, he asked if he could study it. The Nephalem was wary, but Shen pointed out that he was well versed in the knowledge of jewels and ancient stones, and that the object he sought was potentially just as dangerous.
His travels then took him to Bastion's Keep. When The Nephalem prepared to head out of the fortress to confront Azmodan, he told them to bundle up, in order to protect themselves from the cold. He suggested that after Azmodan was defeated, the heroes could travel with him. This wasn't to pass however, as the heroes had to enter Heaven itself to thwart Diablo's invasion.
Chasing the Jewel[edit | edit source]
Soon after coming to Westmarch along with the Nephalem, Shen told a tale about Zei, the thief who once cheated a demon god, Dirgest, in an attempt to seize his most prized possession, Liria. Zei imprisoned the demon inside a priceless jewel, the one Shen had been looking for all this time, but not before Dirgest slew Liria and everyone Zei held dear.
Once the gates to Pandemonium opened, Shen revealed that the jewel was buried in the Unearthed Ruins close to the city. Together they managed to fight their way through the ruins, only to discover, much to Shen's horror, that the jewel had been shattered, and the demon god has been freed from his imprisonment. After the Nephalem defeated Vekriss, the demon guarding Liria's spirit, Shen suddenly changed his manner of speaking beyond recognition. Liria's liberated soul asked Shen if he was Zei (as did Vekriss before the battle), to which he replied he was just a simple jeweler, and that Zei was long gone, but sadly said he was happy to see Liria's face one final time. Later in Westmarch, despite all attempts of The Nephalem to get some answers, he only explained that now it was crucial for him to find Dirgest, no matter the cost.
At some point prior to these events, foreseeing that he might meet Dirgest one day, Shen has made a precious jewel to face him, but eventually traded it for food.
In-game[edit | edit source]
In the events of Diablo III, Shen provides the Nephalem with Jewel-crafting services (combining gems and adding or removing them from items), after rescuing him from a barrel in Waterlogged Passage in Caldeum. The hero proceeds to kill Shen's possessed companion, Gavin, after he touched a cursed crucible. Shen will then be found at the base camp of the Act, where he provides Jewel-crafting services or conversation. Exhausting his dialogue earns the Everybody Loves Shen achievement. In Reaper of Souls, Shen can also craft jewelry, including the Hellfire Rings and Hellfire Amulets.
As with all artisans, Shen only needs to be recruited once per account. He will be present in New Tristram, from the beginning, in all subsequent play-throughs on all difficulty levels. He will briefly disappear from his normal spot when the player reaches his recruitment quest, but will return following quest completion.
Personality and Traits[edit | edit source]
"You know, there is nothing in the world quite so perfect as jewels. They have color, size, shape... transparency."
— Covetous Shen(src)
Shen is filled with wanderlust and has a carefree nature, giving every appearance of being a man without ambition, and trusting in fate to guide him to where he needs to be. Shen’s lax attitude only changes when jewels are involved. His greed for glittering precious stones is legendary; he may even love them more than he loves his own life. "Covetous" is a name that he lives up to, though he claims to not be greedy. In fact, while he's had well over seven wives over the course of his life, he's never had more than two at the same time. His tenth wife was a Barbarian, two heads taller than Shen himself. Shen also enjoys mocking The Nephalem by evading any direct answers regarding who he really is, giving hints that Shen is much, much more than a simple jeweler.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- James Hong provided the voice of Covetous Shen.
- Manners of Covetous Shen may be a reference to Big Trouble in Little China, specifically to David Lo Pan (played by the aforementioned James Hong). Moreover, Covetous Shen is found trapped inside a barrel, which upon hearing all his dialogue grants an achievement called "Big Trouble in Talking Barrel".
- Due to game mechanics, in Act II Shen is not present at his usual spot immediately before and during the quest that involves saving him from the Ancient Aqueducts. His shop can be accessed as normal during that time, though.
- "Covetous" is a synonym for "greedy". "Shen" is the Hanyu Pinyin for both the surname "沈", and "神" which mean god/deity, each pronounced with a different tone. Shen's name is given as "沈老貪" in the Chinese version of the "The Orphan and the Jeweler", which is literally "Shen the Covetous".
- A "Shen's Delights" attraction features in the Blizzard World map in Overwatch.
References[edit | edit source]
- Diablo III, Act III, The Siege of Bastion's Keep
- Jewler, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2012-07-23
- Diablo III, Act II
- Diablo III, Act III
- Diablo III, Act I
- Diablo III, Act II, Unexpected Allies
- Diablo III, Act II, The Black Soulstone
- Diablo III, Act III, Turning the Tide
- Diablo III, Act V
- Diablo III, Act II, The Road to Alcarnus
- Diablo III, Act II, Blood and Sand
- Diablo III, Act III, Machines of War
- Diablo III, Act IV
- Diablo III, Act V
- Diablo III, Shen's Delight