Village of Smurfs
At W1321, S179 you can find a location called "Secret Village", filled with big mushrooms and strange blue Kites. In the center of it you'll see a dead wizard and a cat. This is a reference to The Smurfs show, and the wizard and his cat represent the show's villain Gargamel and his cat Azrael.
There's a unique couch called "Plastic Couch" at Madam Lil's in Tarant. When you hit it, the sheep behind the wall bleats. This is a reference to a member of the Arcanum Inn forum called "Plastic Couch".
Quotes from Developers
Hold Ctrl+Alt (on the left side of your keyboard) and click on the logbook icon to see a hidden list of quotes uttered during the making of the game. This Easter egg is somewhat a tradition, and can be seen in other Tim Cain's games, such as Fallout and Temple of Elemental Evil. An extracted version of the list is available here.
Go to W1060, S809 on the world map (this location never gets marked). There you will find a graveyard where Troika put their beta testers and fans, with a humorous epitaph on each tombstone.
Old Blind Master
This location is found at W750, S556, and it also never gets marked on the map. It may be a bit tricky to find, but eventually you should discover an opening in the mountains. Follow the path to a house of the Old Blind Master who happens to be busy killing chickens. If you manage to kill him, you'll get the Aerial Decapitator, the most powerful throwing weapon in the game. This encounter is a reference to a 1975 film Master of the Flying Guillotine. (Even sound effects and a voice clip from the movie are used.)
Pop-Culture And History References
- Virgil, your first follower and guide, is a reference to Virgil from Dante's Inferno.
- At the blimp's crash site you find a body of Isaac Zapruder who managed to film the attack on the Zephyr on his camera. This is a reference to Abraham Zapruder who unexpectedly recorded the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
- Gilbert Bates, the presumed inventor of the steam engine, who holds the monopoly on making steam engines, is a reference to Bill Gates of Microsoft. His competitor, Cedric Appleby, is a reference to the Apple corporation, who competes with Microsoft.
- When the Succour Beast spell is used by a character with high magickal aptitude, it summons a Vorpal Bunny, who's very tough. This is a reference to the Rabbit of Caerbannog, the fictional beast in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- The Whytechurch series of murders in Caladon is based on the Whitechapel murders.
- H.T. Parnell, a showman that makes money off hoaxes in Tarant, is based on P.T. Barnum, an American showman, businessman, and entertainer, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
- The Boil in Tarant is referred to as being a "wretched hive of scum and villainy", which is how Obi-Wan Kenobi described Mos Eisley in Star Wars Episode IV. This description was also used in Fallout 2 to describe The Den.
- Madame Toussaude in Tarant is a reference to Marie Tussaud and her wax museum called Madame Tussauds.
- Edward Teach is a reference to Blackbeard, a notorious English pirate, whose real name was also Edward Teach.
- The Orcish Question books are a reference to the Jewish question.
- Azram's Star, a unique throwing weapon, is an exact replica of the Glaive, the fictional weapon used in a 1983 film Krull.
- The Ring of Brodgar is based on the real stone circle of the same name which is in Orkney, Scotland.
- The Island of Cattan is a reference to a German board game called Settlers of Catan.
- The Donn Throgg poster shown in the ending slides is a modified version of a Nazi poster.
- Matt de Cesare is named after the winner of the "Get in the Game" contest. The character's original name was Leonid Anderson (which was most probably based on the names of developers Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson).
- Nasrudin is named after Nasreddin, a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes.
- Tollo Underhill is a reference to Frodo Baggins of Lord of the Rings, who used the alias Mr. Underhill while hiding from Ringwraiths..
- When asking people about the Isle of Despair (at a certain point in the main quest), they may answer "You mean the Black Isle? I’m not quite sure...". This is a reference to the Black Isle Studios, where most of the Troika staff came from.
- Professor Aldous Hunley of Vendigroth (mentioned in the newspapers), who created a fully submersible watercraft (you can find it washed on the beach on the Isle of Despair), is a reference to Horace Lawson Hunley, a marine engineer during the American Civil War, whose vessel also sank killing him. The name could also be a reference to Aldous Huxley.
- Lethe Wyvern, a two legged dragon, that destroys its victim's memory with its poisonous claws, is named after Lethe, one of the several rivers of Hades: those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. The in-game effect of Lethe Wyvern's attacks is permanent Intelligence damage.
- The Durin Stone, an artifact from the Iron Clan, is a reference to Durin, the name that was used by seven Kings of Dwarves in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. It should also be noted that Tolkien took the name Durin from Norse mythology, where it is spelled as Durinn.
- Sammie White, the Pickpocket master, who engages in insults, says "Please be gone or I shall taunt you again!" at a certain point. This is a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- If you and Virgil join the Dark Elves, Elder Joachim, Virgil's former mentor, appears in Caladon to make a desperate plea for Virgil to stop, and when he refuses, tries to stand in his way. One of Virgil's taunts to Joachim is "Your powers are weak, old man," quoting Darth Vader from Star Wars Episode IV.
- The Arcane Dagger is almost an exact replica of the Isis Dagger, a fantasy knife created by a fantasy collectibles designer Kit Rae. The Isis Dagger was first produced in 2000, when Arcanum was in the middle of development.
- When conversing with a half-orc named Thom Grak in Tarant you may choose to antagonize him based on his race (unless you're a half-orc yourself), by which he will be unfazed, grabbing your arm, albeit politely. You may then, and rather hilariously, bid him "Get your hands off of me, you damned dirty ape!" in an obvious reference to a 1968 film Planet of the Apes.
- The Unified Kingdom's attempts to persuade the kingdom of Arland (of which Caladon is capital) to join their tightly-knit alliance, can be a direct reference to a political relations between the United Kingdom and Ireland. Hence, ARland, IREland.
- Barbarian's Heavy Blade is a replica of the Atlantean Sword from a 1982 film Conan the Barbarian.
- Arcanum's chakrams seem to be linked to the television show Xena: Warrior Princess. One of the graphics files for chakrams has 'xena' in its name.
- The Tempus Fugit spell is named after the latin phrase for "time flees" (also translated as "time flies").
- The Ring of Shadows (found in Cold Pond) is most likely a homage to the powerup of the same name from Quake, especially considering that Tim Cain was a fan of the Quake games. Its effects (turning the wearer invisible while draining their health) may be an homage to the effects of The One Ring from The Lord of the Rings
- The dwarven god Alberich is based on the mythological character of the same name, whose name means king of the elves (elbe "elves", reix, rex "king"). However, he was also known as king of the dwarves.
- When conversing with Nasrudin on Thanatos, he may tell you "With ultimate power comes ultimate responsibilities" which is likely a reference to Spiderman's "With great power comes great responsibilities".
- When first going to the Pit of Fires, you may encounter a small group of adventurers. If you don't convince them to retrieve the Blade of Xerxes for you, you will find their body lying in the cave. Then you should be able to get their real names which are : Frondo (the Halfling) in an obvious reference to Frodo from LOTR, Morrawynd (the Elf girl) which refers to Morrowind, the country from the dark elves of the Elder Scrolls series and Jyheirad which may be a reference to Jaheira, the elven druid from Baldur's Gate series. The last adventurer, R'yn-Diak has no known hidden meaning.
- When speaking with Prince Auguste Farad in Caladon about the fate of his betrothed Aria, the Living One mentions the ship she was travelling on was called the Elizabeth Dane. This is a reference to the ship in John Carpenter's The Fog, and would be referenced again in Troika's later title Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines.
-The quest The Gem of Water Purification in Tulla Is a reference to the main quest from the first Fallout game. Both quests involve a character who was sent out from an enclosed community to retrieve an object to purify water and are denied reentry upon their return for fear that they would spread outside ideas that would change the community. The character's name Albert is a reference to Albert Cole, one of Fallout's pre made characters, and the machined plate mail he wears is a reference to the game's T-51 power armor. Several Troika employees, including Tim Cain previously worked on Fallout.
- The gnome and halfling in Caladon who traded something valuable for three seemingly useless beans that turn out to have powerful magic is a reference to the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk"