"I'm a simple man. Give me a good meal, a warm bed and a handful of jewels."
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
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.
Shen claims to have met Zoltun Kulle at some point, considering him to be "perfectly reasonable" for a mage. 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 bar himself. The jewel had, in Shen's own words, taken everything and everyone from him that mattered, its danger on par with 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 he literally fell into the arms of the woman who would be his seventh wife.
Jewels in the East
In 1285, Shen was hiding in the Caldeum Sewers. Here, he joined a band of heroes, suspecting that they might have an eventual hand in finding the jewel he sought. Until then, he would provide them with his services. His travels then took him to Bastion's Keep. Foul weather and a demon invasion weren't exactly pleasant, but Shen kept warm thanks to his fire opals. 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.
In the events of Diablo III, Shen provides the nephalem with Jewelcrafting services (combining gems and removing them from items) after the they rescue him from a barrel in the Caldeum Sewers. The hero proceeds to kill Shen's companion, Gavin, after he touched a cursed crucible. Shen will then be found at the base camp of the Act, where the player may visit him for Jewelcrafting or a conversation. Going through all of his conversations earns the Everybody loves Shen achievement.
Shen, as with all artisans, only needs to be recruited once per account. He will be present from the beginning in New Tristram in all subsequent playthroughs on all difficulty levels. He will briefly disappear from his normal spot when the player reaches his recruitment quest, but will return after it is completed.
Personality and Traits
"You know, there is nothing in the world quite so perfect as jewels. They have color, size, shape... transparency."
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.
- James Hong provided the voice of Covetous Shen.
- Shen was married to Myriam Jahzia at one point.
- 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.