Ultimate List of Easter Eggs
(updated December 15th, 2012)
This is a compilation of all Easter eggs, pop-culture and history references found in the game. If you are aware of something not mentioned here, please let me know.
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.)
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".
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.
Most portraits in the game are based on pictures of real people, including the developers themselves, historic personalities and characters from movies. Here are the portraits that have been identified:
Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 ?September 13, 1881) was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator.
John Brown Gordon (February 6, 1832 ?January 9, 1904) was one of Robert E. Lee's most trusted Confederate generals during the American Civil War. After the war, he was a strong opponent of Reconstruction and is thought by some to have been the titular leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia during the late 1860s.
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848–January 13, 1929) was an American farmer, teamster, sometime buffalo hunter, officer of the law in various Western frontier towns, gambler, saloon-keeper, miner and boxing referee. He is best known for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, along with Doc Holliday, and two of his brothers, Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp.
Cecil Vyse is a character from a 1986 film A Room with a View. He was played by Daniel Day-Lewis.
The Bane of Kree's earlier portrait is based on Derek Vinyard (played by Edward Norton), a white supremacist character from a 1998 film American History X. The final version of the game, however, features a completely different portrait for the Bane of Kree. It's possible that the original portrait was deemed too controversial.
Henry Hopkins Sibley (May 25, 1816 ?August 23, 1886) was a brigadier general during the American Civil War, fighting in the Confederate States Army in the New Mexico Territory.
- In Tulla the Master Mage of Water gives you a quest to retrieve the Water Gem from his former student Albert, who's waiting by the gates. Albert has gone technological and is no longer welcomed at Tulla, as he would cause "bad influence". This a reference to Fallout's main quest, namely getting the Water Chip and the Vault Dweller's exile. Also, Albert was one of Fallout's premade characters.
- A two-headed cow at H.T.Parnell's in Tarant is an obvious reference to the brahmin.
- Machined Platemail is a reference to Power Armor. It gives you a strength bonus as well.
- Dogmeat makes a comeback as Worthless Mutt, who can be found in Ashbury.
- In Shrouded Hills you can find a unique cow named Ol'Bessie. This is a reference to a brahmin of the same name that appears in Modoc in Fallout 2.
- Virgil accidentally calls you the Chosen One at one point. This is a reference to Fallout 2's protagonist.
- 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.
- Tesla Coil, Tesla Rod and Tesla Gun are named after Nicola Tesla, the famous electrical engineer and inventor.
- The Island of Cattan is a reference to a German board game called Settlers of Catan.
- 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, whose alias was Mr. Underhill.
- 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.
- Hieronymous Maxim, the inventor of the mechanized gun and the aeroplane in Arcanum, is based on Hiram Maxim, the inventor of the first machine gun, who also experimented with powered flight.
- 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.
- While picking up a package for an alchemist named Jongle Dunne, the shopkeeper in Dernholm tells you, "That wizard is just a crazy old man," quoting Owen Lars from Star Wars Episode IV.
- 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, is a direct reference to a similar political situation of the last several centuries between the United Kingdom and the Republic of 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.
- 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.
- At the Tarantian University there is a scientist and demonologist called Professor Eakins. Inquire him about what he does and he will respond: "I am a scholar, involved in research. Magick and science are the opposite sides of the same coin. To be truly knowledgeable, one must study a tremendous variety of things. Specialization is for insects and orcs." This is a reference to a famous quote in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
You can find various epitaphs on several cemeteries throughout Arcanum. Some of them are real epitaphs, some are quotes from literature, while others are tributes to testers and fans. Note: The Fan Graveyard has its own epitaphs.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry,
For Tomorrow You May Die
This is a variation of an American proverb that says: "Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die."
Quoth the Raven, Nevermore
This is a quote from "The Raven", a narrative poem by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe.
I told you I was sick!
* * *
than he could pay.
These two epitaphs are from the following story: "Two years after his death, Spike Milligan has finally had the epitaph he wanted on his tombstone. After much familial dispute, his gravestone now reads "I told you I was ill" in Gaelic. Milligan is by no means the first person to go out on a gag. Owen Moore, buried in Battersea Cemetery, died in debt, a fact all his creditors were reminded of by the inscription on his headstone: "Gone away owing more than he could pay"."
Love is your spirit in the sun,
Strength is your legacy you left,
Life is your essence never gone.
Marta Lukovsky, Hollywood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California
This old world is made brighter,
By the lives of folks like you
This is a shortened variant of the epitaph from Bonnie Parker's grave. The original reads:
As the flowers are all made sweeter: by the sunshine and the dew,
So this old world is made brighter: by the lives of folks like you.
So much to do,
So little done
This is a quote from In Memoriam A.H.H., a poem by the English poet Alfred Tennyson. A longer variant of this quote is more common:
So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be.
Here lies Johnny Yeast... Pardon me for not rising.
Cemetery in Ruidoso, New Mexico
Here Lies Lester Moore
4 Slugs from a .44
No Les No More
Boot Hill cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona. A photo is available here.
Here lies Kelley,
We buried him today,
He lived the life of Riley,
When Riley was away...
This is a popular epitaph, based on the idiom "to live/lead the life of Riley" (to live an easy life). This phrase originated in a popular song of the 1880s, "Is That Mr. Reilly?" by Pat Rooney, which described what its hero would do if he suddenly came into a fortune.
His wife was constantly scolding and scoffing,
So he sought for repose in a 12 coin coffin
This is a modified variant of an epitaph from the book "Quaint Epitaphs" (1895), by Susan Darling Safford. The original reads:
Sacred to the memory of Anthony Drake,
Who died for peace and quietness sake.
His wife was constantly scolding and scoffing.
So he sought repose in a twelve dollar coffin.
A number of popular epitaphs (especially from the 19th century) were also used.
This spot is the sweetest I've seen in my life,
For it raises my flowers and covers my wife
* * *
Weep not father and mother for me, for I am waiting in glory for thee.
* * *
Life is a jest,
All things show it,
I thought so once,
Now I know it
* * *
A dream lies here
* * *
Sleep on sweet baby, and take thy rest,
God called thee home, He thought it best
* * *
This tombstone is a Milestone,
Hah! how so?,
Because beneath lies MILES,
who's MILES below
Some epitaphs are dedicated to the developers, QA testers and fans.
Here lies Chad Martin,
a.k.a. Gods Fury,
Master of knives,
He could make quite a mess,
Killed while trying to put Belle in a dress (Chad Martin, QA Lead)
* * *
Here lies Bryan Wilkinson,
The doc said he'd be "alright",
Guess doc was all wrong (Bryan Wilkinson, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Lester "Mr. Wags" Stocker
Magic, Thief, Talker was quite the weed
He will pester us no longer
Because we planted him like a seed (Lester Stocker, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Dave Jordan,
His last words were a shame,
"There's a light at the end of the tunnel"...
Unfortunately it was a Train (David Jordan, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Richard A. Nelson,
He was such a giving man,
We will miss him with all our heart,
-Madam Lil and the girls- (Richard Nelson, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Geoff Upton-Rowley,
I can see up your skirt (Geoff Upton-Rowley, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Darren "The Cruel" Park Esq.,
Husband to Ronda,
Father to Catherine and Meghan,
Great Stillwater Beast Hunter and collector of skulls and antiquities (Darren Park, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Jason "ButterTaco" Furler,
Master dark elf swordsman of evil,
The IFS Zephyr came down upon his head,
While he was collecting twigs and berries (Jason Furler, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Joe Easter,
Died before his time,
He just wouldn't listen,
When we said "By Design" (Joseph Easter, QA Tester)
* * *
Here lies Sissie Chang,
Fumbled a grenade,
Went out with a bang (Sissie Chang, Designer)
* * *
Here lies Scott Jacobson,
Who came upon an evil lich,
He didn't even think to run,
And ended up in this ditch (Scott Jacobson, Designer)
* * *
Here lies Tiffany Chu,
Practiced in the diplomatic ways,
They brought her to,
the end of her days (Tiffany Chu, Designer)
* * *
Here lies Cameron DeMar,
The wild warrior was put to rest after a long life of great battles,
May he rest in peace (Cameron DeMar, QA Tester)
* * *
In memory of Quang Pham,
Lost to us while travelling to Tarant University,
His body was never recovered (Quang Pham, QA Tester)
* * *
Poems and Epitaphs are but stuff,
Here lies Zed Blacksword,
That's Enough (Zed Blacksword, one of the fans)